Leyla Aliyeva: “Relations between Moscow and Baku will always be friendly and warm” (Exclusive)
On the night from February 25-26th in 1992 Armenian militants seized the Azerbaijani city of Khojaly and brutally killed 613 civilians, including 106 women, 70 elderly men and 63 children. For 24 years, not only Azerbaijan, but also Russia and other countries mark the tragic date annually. Yesterday, the ‘Memory’ exhibition of paintings by Azerbaijani artists took place in the Congress Park of the Ukraine Hotel within the international information campaign ‘Justice for Khojaly’, where Vestnik Kavkaza managed to speak to Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and head of the Foundation in Russia, Chairwoman of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia, Leyla Aliyeva.
- What is the goal of ‘Justice for Khojaly’?
- The main thing is to spread information in order that more people know about this tragedy in large parts of the world to prevent such tragedies in the future, above all. The world should have no place for such brutal murders and violence. At the moment, our campaign Justice for Khojaly is supported by 115 organizations and more than 120,000 people, but I think that after some time the number of people will increase, and more and more countries will recognize this genocide.
- Russia is holding such events not for the first time. Do you think Russia and Azerbaijan are close partners?
- Our countries are connected to each other by years of friendship and good-neighborly relations. I am always happy visiting Moscow and Russia. Today 700 people have been guests of our event. It means a lot for me. It is very important, and I believe that relations between Moscow and Baku will always be friendly and warm.
At the opening ceremony, Leyla Aliyeva also stated: “24 years have passed since this tragedy, but our pain hasn't reduced, and the victims of this tragedy will forever remain in our memory of the Khojaly tragedy. It is the most terrible, bloody and inhuman page in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has been continuing for almost 30 years and a result of it is that 20% of Azerbaijani lands are still occupied. There are about one million refugees. Architectural masterpieces are destroyed and historical monuments are erased. Everything that connects this region with the Azerbaijani culture is destroyed on the occupied territories.”
“On the night from February 25-26th in 1992 Armenian militants seized the Azerbaijani city of Khojaly and brutally killed 613 civilians, including 106 women, 70 old men and 63 children. They deprived of lives future doctors, engineers, teachers – those people who could make the life of Azerbaijan better, brighter and more interesting. The tragedy should be given a fair assessment by the international community, and the perpetrators must be punished. The international campaign "Justice for Khojaly!" started in 2008. Our main goal is to bring the truth to the world community about the tragedy and do our best to prevent such tragedies in future. There should be no place for such brutal murder and violence in the world,” the Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation said.
"Today, our campaign ‘Justice for Khojaly’ is supported by dozens of countries in the world, including the Parliaments of Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Pakistan, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, the Czech Republic, Jordan, Sudan, Panama, Honduras. And the legislatures of more than 10 states of the United States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation recognized the genocide in Khojaly. We organize petitions to the highest international organizations, including the UN and the international court in The Hague. Our voice is heard at the most important conferences and forums in the world. Bosnia erected a monument dedicated to victims of genocides in Srebrinica and Khojaly. The website of ‘Justice for Khojaly’ was updated, now it has all the necessary information. We are shooting movies, publishing books about the awful tragedy. For many years events about Khojly have been taking place in many countries of the world – conferences, exhibitions, and lectures. Due to the efforts of our activists, today our campaign is supported by 115 organizations and more than 120 thousand people,” Leyla Aliyeva said.
According to her, “Azerbaijan has always been a very tolerant and multicultural country where people of various ethnic groups and religions live together. Nevertheless, the spirit of our nation was not broken. Victims of Khojaly will always be alive in our memory. We have prepared an exhibition of Azerbaijani artists and children. You can feel the tragedy, see it through the eyes of people of art. Perhaps there is a lot of pain and sadness in these paintings, but we sincerely believe that soon the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be resolved fairly. The territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will be restored, and all refugees will come back home to their native land.”