Azerbaijan calls on Armenia to stop destroying houses and monuments
Azerbaijani forces do not target historic, cultural and, especially, religious buildings and monuments, Sevda Mammadaliyeva writes in the article Azerbaijan Respects All Cultural Monuments for WSJ, answering Christina Maranci’s “Cultural Heritage in the Crosshairs Once More” (Arts & Review, Nov. 19) article.
As a multicultural and multireligious country, Azerbaijan has always been home to representatives of all nations and religions, who have coexisted and worked together peacefully for centuries. Azerbaijan’s Christian community is a vital and active part of our society whose monuments and places of worship in our country are protected and regularly restored by the Azerbaijani state. It is no coincidence that Pope Francis praised religious tolerance in Azerbaijan as a model for the world in 2016 during his visit to Baku.
Since the outset of the conflict, Armenia repeatedly attempted to blame damage to churches and other historically sensitive landmarks on Azerbaijan. This has been offered without substantive proof nor has it been confirmed by any independent international organization. So it is clear for the record: Azerbaijani forces do not target historic, cultural and, especially, religious buildings and monuments. To the contrary, Azerbaijan has contributed to the protection of Christian landmarks not only within the country but also world-wide.
As was witnessed by the world, following the signing of the peace agreement, Armenians destroyed monuments, houses, forests and critical infrastructure like hospitals and schools. This destruction advances no cause and only serves to destroy history, inflict long-term damage and make recovery slower.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “I have seen war . . . I hate war.” Azerbaijan is committed to a peaceful transition and rebuilding that protects our citizens and religious landmarks. It is our sincere hope that Armenia will respect the peace agreement and prevent further destruction and tragic loss of life.