Baku blasts Yerevan for unfounded statement on Sumgayit events
Baku on Monday slammed the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s latest statement on Sumgayit events, calling it ‘absolutely unfounded and false’, News.Az reports.
“We have repeatedly responded to the unfounded and false accusations made by the Armenian Foreign Ministry in connection with the Sumgayit events,” said Leyla, Abdullayeva, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson, stressing that the bloody events of February 1998 in Sumgayit city of the Azerbaijan SSR were a premeditated and pre-planned provocation against Azerbaijan.
The spokesperson recalled that the USSR Prosecutor General’s Office opened a criminal case over the incident and took the necessary investigation measures, identifying the perpetrators of the riots and their accomplices, as well as a total of 32 victims. Abdullayeva noted that six Azerbaijanis were among those victims.
“We want to brief the Armenian Foreign Ministry on the fact that the mastermind of the riots, Eduard Grigoryan, who led the march, personally killed six people and raped three women of Armenian descent, was an Armenian by nationality, and numerous Armenians in Sumgayit testified about him. Grigoryan, jailed for 12 years, was later released after being transferred to Armenia to service his sentence,” she said.
“Following the trial over the Sumgayit events, 92 people were arrested, and one was sentenced to death. For comparison, no action was taken against those responsible for the deaths of 217 Azerbaijanis during the forced expulsion of Azerbaijanis from the densely populated regions of the Armenian SSR in the late 1980s,” the spokesperson added.
Abdullayeva underlined that Armenia, which had kept 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory under occupation for almost 30 years, committed numerous military and inhumane crimes, including the Khojaly genocide, and the perpetrators have not yet been brought to justice.
The spokesperson reminded the Armenia MFA of the fact that Azerbaijan has restored its territorial integrity by putting an end to the decades-long occupation of its sovereign territories by Armenia.
“Making false, baseless and hostile statements instead of taking advantage of the new opportunities for cooperation and peace-building that are currently emerging in the region with the elimination of the occupation factor, demonstrate Armenia's true intention. As long as the Armenian government sticks to an uncompromising position based on lies, the Armenian people will be deprived of peace and prosperity,” Abdullayeva concluded.