Armenia’s UN Envoy Urges Respect for Sumgait Victims, Karabakh Self-Determination

Armenia’s Ambassador to the UN Karen Nazaryan

UNITED NATIONS (Combined Sources)–Armenia’s ambassador to the UN, Karen Nazaryan, on Wednesday issued a written appeal to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon outlining Yerevan’s disappointment with the international community’s reluctance to respect the right to self-determination of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The letter, written four days before the 22nd anniversary of the massacres of Armenians in the Azeri city of Sumgait, also sought to reiterate official Yerevan’s request that the UN curb a heightening propaganda campaign by Azerbaijan to distort the facts of the Nagorno-Karabakh liberation struggle.

“Azerbaijan continues to portray itself as a victim of so-called ‘Armenian aggression’, releasing false information and falsifying evidence to distort the tragic events known to the whole world.”

The tragic events Nazaryan was referring to were a series of massacres of Armenians in Sumgait, Kirovabad, Baku and Shahumian. The pogroms, organized by the Azeri OMON Special forces, began on February 27, 1988 in Sumgait as a direct response to the hundreds of thousands of Armenian demonstrators urging the Kremlin to allow Karabakh to be part of Armenia earlier that year.

“In response to the peaceful and constitutional demand of the people of Nagorno Karabakh to realize their right to self-determination, the Azerbaijani authorities armed the mob, which perpetrated a massacre of Armenians in Sumgait in 1988,” Nazaryan’s letter said. “This was the first case of mass murder on the territory of the Soviet Union and once Azerbaijan gained its own independence, the murderers were set free and declared national heroes.”

The pogroms resulted in the death of an estimated 300 Armenians and the expulsion of 250,000 more from Azerbaijan. The death toll was exacerbated further by an Azeri military invasion into Nagorno-Karabakh that sparked a war which lasted until 1994.

“For the first and last time, it should become clear that Azerbaijan itself launched a war of aggression against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Armenia is confident that the best solution in this situation is to restore the legitimate claims of the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to provide certain inalienable right of nations to self-determination,” the letter said.

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