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Legendary war reporter Martin Bell on Yemen War: We are a civilised nation, we should not be arming Saudi Arabia (E950)

We speak to legendary war correspondent Martin Bell. He discusses the horror of the crisis in Yemen, which the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, his first-hand experience of seeing the suffering in Yemen, the record of the Saudi-led coalition’s strikes on civilians and civilian infrastructure, British assistance to the Saudi-led coalition, why British arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition must end and much more! Finally, we speak to award-winning journalist Peter Oborne. He discusses being on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh during the recent Azerbaijan-Armenia war, reports of Azeri bombardment as the war progressed, the geopolitics of the war with the West taking a backseat while Russia and Turkey became major players, meeting and learning the stories of Armenian soldiers, reports of Turkish-backed Syrian jihadists committing atrocities in Nagorno-Karabakh and much more.

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Statement by Mr. Tahir Taghizade, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the UK 

On “the Armenians seeing themselves as not fighting Azerbaijan but fighting the Turks” 

Armenia have been trying to portray this conflict as religious or connected to a third party all to hide the root cause of it which is Armenia’s occupation and ethnic cleansing of Nagorno Karabakh and 7 adjacent districts of Azerbaijan. Moreover one cannot base its regional or foreign policy in general on imagined grievances against neighbours which stem from and further increase embedded feelings of hatred and xenophobia.   

On “mainly Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh” 

Nagorno Karabakh is internationally recognized integral part of Azerbaijan as stipulated in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874, 884) of 1993.  

Armenian invasion of Nagorno Karabakh and 7 adjacent regions resulted in brutal massacres and ethnic cleansing against Azerbaijani civilian population. More than 800,000 Azerbaijani civilians were forcibly expelled from these territories. Together with 250,000 Azerbaijanis expelled from Armenia, the number of Azerbaijani refugees exceeds 1 million. Today Azerbaijan has the largest number of refugees per capita in the world. That is one of the reasons why Mr. Oborne observed that the population of Nagorno Karabakhwas mainly Armenians. Besides, being ethnically populated by a certain minority does not necessarily mean a right to illegal secession.  

On “being on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh, killing of civilians and mercenaries” 

In the wake of its decade-long aggression against Azerbaijan, Armenia committed, inter alia, genocide against over 600 civilian population of Khojaly city of Azerbaijan on February 26 in 1992 and lots of other war crimes and crimes against humanity.  

As a result of most recent Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan, 94 civilians have been killed and 414 were injured in deliberate attacks targeting civilians living far beyond the combat zone. Armenia launched rocket attacks twice on Ganja city in the middle of the night and then on Barda city of Azerbaijan on October 11, 17 and 28 respectively, killing dozens of kids, women and elderly. In all these attacks, Armenia used prohibited Tochka-U, SCUD and Smerch missiles against innocent civilians. These reckless attacks of Armenia on civilians and civilian infrastructure amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The fact that Armenia used cluster munitions against Azerbaijani civilians was confirmed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.   

As was repetitively stated by President of Azerbaijan as well as Azerbaijan’s MFA and MOD, the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan did not fight against the civilians, including the citizens of Azerbaijan of Armenian origin, and did not target civilians and civilian infrastructure in the occupied territories.  

We recall that according to public statements of high-level Armenian officials, since the outbreak of hostilities the majority of Armenians residing in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan have already left these territories for Armenia. The Azerbaijani side repeatedly appealed to those remaining in the area to stay away from military installations and refrain from taking a part in the military hostilities, since this would undermine their status as civilians and turn them into combatants. 

Furthermore, worth to mention that Armenia widely usedmercenaries and foreign terrorist fighters in its military operations against the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, which have been extensively documented, including by different international media resources and foreign governments including those of Georgia and Canada.

Armenia in an open attempt to cover-up its above-mentioned wrongdoings constituting war crimes and crimes against humanity have been accusing Azerbaijan of the same with a view to diverting the attention of the international community, and to that end have been carrying out a massive campaign of fake news.  

We once again resolutely reject these groundless accusations and renew our appeals to the international community to be vigilant against Armenia’s deliberate actions to cover-up its crimes through a smear campaign against Azerbaijan.

Yet, it is disappointing that the journalist has consciously chosen the “representative” of illegal separatist regime established in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan as his primary source of information.

Let us remind Mr. Oborne that the internationally acceptedname of the city is Shusha which was liberated from Armenian occupation of November 8, 2020.  

Last but not the least; we would like to ask Mr. Oborne did he seek Azerbaijan’s permission before visiting NagornoKarabakh region of Azerbaijan? This is because any visit without the consent of the Republic of Azerbaijan to these territories, which are internationally recognized as an integral part of Azerbaijan is considered as a violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and as a breach of national legislation, as well as relevant norms and principles of international law: https://mfa.gov.az/en/content/401/travel-information#Health

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