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Parliament holds hearing on return to Western Azerbaijan of ethnic Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia

04 March 2023 [10:24] - TODAY.AZ
By Azernews

Sabina Mammadli

Organized by the parliamentary permanent committee on human rights, the Azerbaijani Milli Majlis held hearings on the topic "Overcoming mountains: Peaceful and legal return to Western Azerbaijan".

The committee chairman, Zahid Oruj, Deputy Foreign Minister Xalaf Xalafov, Chairman of the Western Azerbaijan Community MP Aziz Alekperli, other parliamentarians, and representatives of NGOs attended the hearings.

Addressing the session, Xalafov said that the return to Western Azerbaijan is voluntary, noting that when they do return, their security and socio-economic stability must be ensured.

The official underlined that Armenia should voluntarily take on these issues and resolve them, emphasizing that the issue should be one of the components of the peace agenda between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

"The issue of the return of the Western Azerbaijanis should be approached from a serious, national, and state position. We have to focus on certain legal aspects," he added.

Xalafov stressed that the steps taken by the Western Azerbaijan Community and the support for this process by state structures should be conducted as part of certain laws, political and legal mechanisms for the achievement of national goals.

"The return of Western Azerbaijanis is the dream and national goal of the entire Azerbaijani people, and not just our compatriots who have been expelled from Western Azerbaijan for many years. It’s relevant to raise the issue of return to Western Azerbaijan now in the context of the new political realities that emerged after the 2020 Second Karabakh War," he said.

Xalafov stressed that the potential of the community of Western Azerbaijanis fully allows the implementation of the 'Concept of Return' put forward by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Furthermore, MP Aziz Alakbarli shared that a list of 237 villages in Western Azerbaijan has been compiled and documents of about 20,000 families have been collected.

"Our goal is to convey to the international community the whole truth about Western Azerbaijan. We, as a community of Western Azerbaijanis, have addressed a letter to President of the Council of the European Union Charles Michel, and the current EU mission in Armenia," Alakbarli added.

Previously, on January 27, 2023, the ‘Concept of Return’ to Western Azerbaijan was adopted at the final meeting of the Supervisory Board of the Community of Western Azerbaijanis.

Under the concept, the Community of Western Azerbaijanis will initiate contacts with the Azerbaijani government, permanent members of the UN Security Council, the countries in the region, and other relevant states and organizations in order to formulate the international legal framework of return.

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