21 years have passed since the occupation of Kalbajar district of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the armed forces of Armenia.
Launching large-scale military hostilities on March 27, 1993, the Armenian armed forces occupied Kalbajar district on April 2. Kalbajar, a region of 1,936 square kilometers, was the scene of torture of innocent people by the occupying forces of Armenia.
As a result, 511 people died, and 321 went missing or were captured. 55 soldiers were killed during the fighting. 53,340 residents of the Kalbajar region became internally displaced persons. Moreover, 132 settlements and Kalbajar's gold deposits were seized by Armenian forces. More than 500 industrial, construction, catering and retail facilities, 97 schools and 76 health facilities were destroyed in the mentioned territory.
After the occupation of Kalbajar district the destruction of historical and religious monuments in the district by the Armenian forces was followed. Consequently, an Albanian temple in Vang village, an Albanian church in Cherekdar, Lok fortress in Ganlikend, Ulukhan fortress in Garajanli, an Albanian church on Tartar River, the fortresses of Galabonu, Jomerd, Keshikchi, mosques in the town of Kalbajar and Otaqli village, Taglidash Bridge over the Tartar River, a museum of history and ethnography, Ashig Shamshir Cultural House, and Seyid Asadullah shrine in Soyudly summer field of Kalbajar region were destroyed.
It is essential to recall that, in its presidential note dated 6 April 1993, the Security Council for the first time expressed “its serious concern at the deterioration of relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan”, specifically referring to “the invasion of the Kelbadjar district of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, demanding the immediate cessation of all hostilities and the withdrawal of forces and “reaffirming the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States of the region and the inviolability of their borders”. In his report dated 14 April 1993 submitted in accordance with request by the Security Council, the Secretary-General stated that “[t]he intensification of fighting in and around Nagorny-Karabakh, especially the recent attacks against the Kelbadjar and Fizuli districts of Azerbaijan, poses a serious threat to the maintenance of international peace and security in the entire Transcaucasus region”. In response to Armenia’s assertion that “no military forces from the Republic of Armenia were involved in the hostilities in the Kelbadjar district”, the Secretary-General made it clear that “[r]eports of the use of heavy weaponry, such as T-72 tanks, Mi-24 helicopter gunships and advanced fixed wing aircraft are particularly disturbing and would seem to indicate the involvement of more than local ethnic forces”.
In that connection, in its resolution 822 (1993) adopted on 30 April 1993, the Security Council reaffirmed the principle of “the inadmissibility of the use of force for the acquisition of territory” applied to inter-State relations, demanding “the immediate cessation of all hostilities and hostile acts with a view to establishing a durable ceasefire, as well as immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from the Kelbadjar district and other recently occupied areas of Azerbaijan”. In their statements following the voting, several Council members made the Armenian side responsible for the escalation in armed hostilities and obstructing the peace initiatives. Thus, the representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland drew attention to the fact that “the latest offensive has again coincided with renewed attempts within the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) to get talks re-started” and to “... an unwillingness on the part of a side which apparently is winning on the ground at any given moment to make any efforts to compromise”.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is confident that for the purposes of lasting peace, security and stability in the South Caucasus, there is no alternative other than by concerted efforts of the international community to convince the Republic of Armenia to put an end to the illegal occupation of the territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan, to ensure that inalienable rights of Azerbaijani internally displaced persons to return to their places of origin is fully recognized and implemented.