The “eurasianet.org” website has posted on an article entitled “Azerbaijan: Baku presses campaign for Khojaly Recognition.”
The article says the government of Azerbaijan is engaging in a campaign to gain international recognition of the 1992 massacre of over 600 Azeri civilians by Armenian forces in the village of Khojaly during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
On the night of February 25-26, 1992, hundreds of Azeri residents of Khojaly were killed as they tried to flee from their village, which had been encircled by Armenian forces.
The author quotes a spokesman for Azerbaijan`s Foreign Ministry, Elman Abdullayev as saying “As a result of the short-sighted and destructive policy, the Armenian leadership nullified their own attempts to create an image of a long-suffering Armenian nation.”
The article goes on to say Thomas de Waal, author of a history of the Karabakh war titled “Black Garden” and a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, notes that the Khojaly anniversary is “marked with ever-increasing gravity each year and has become a central pillar of Azerbaijan`s case to the world that it is the victim of aggression.”
“The Khojaly campaign has included lobbying efforts to convince legislative bodies at various levels to recognize the massacre formally, as well as public awareness campaigns. This year it also included a petition to the White House to recognize the tragedy formally. So far this year state legislatures in Arkansas and New Mexico have adopted resolutions commemorating Khojaly. Since 2010, legislatures in Massachusetts, Texas, New Jersey, Maine, and Georgia also have recognized Khojaly, with another “two to three” states working on them, said Adil Bagirov, co-founder and managing director of the US Azeris Network. In addition, national parliaments in Mexico, Colombia, Pakistan, and the Czech Republic have formally recognized the massacre.
Bagirov said that it is “probably too early” to assess the success of the campaign in achieving concrete progress in support for Azerbaijan`s position on Karabakh.”
The article says a February 26 event in Washington commemorating Khojaly, organized by the Embassy of Azerbaijan and the US Azeris Network, featured US Representative Randy Hultgren, a Republican from Illinois, who expressed his “heartfelt sympathy” for the massacre.
Azerbaijan's ambassador to Washington Elin Suleymanov told the audience that “to gain justice for the victims of Khojaly would be to have lasting peace” and “if anyone thinks that if 10 years, 20 years, 30 years pass, that we will forget, that is wishful thinking.”
“A petition calling on the White House to “issue a proclamation commemorating and recognizing the war crime of the Khojaly massacre, and its victims” received more than 125,000 signatures. It was the second-most popular petition in the short history of the White House`s public petition program
In Mexico City, a memorial to Khojaly features a plaque that describes the massacre as genocide.”/AzerTAc/