It is already 5 years the the Republic of Azerbaijan has been exposed to the Armenian aggression. As a result of the expansion of this aggression day by day, hundreds of villages, habitations have been occupied by the enemy, burnt and destroyed. Thousands of people have perished and are missing in this merciless war. Thousands of people have lost their homes and driven out of their lands in the undeclared war against Azerbaijan by Armenia.
The Armenian invaders are taking the peaceful civilians hostages by force and torturing them. According to the data of August 1 the number of missing, captives and hostages is 2804, 320 of them are women, 71 – children, and 173 – aged people. Attempts for liberation of the Azerbaijani hostages have not yielded any results until now. It reaffirms that Armenia does not obey the international law, and breaches the acts of the Genève Convention on the Protection of the Victims of War.
There are a lot of undeniable facts about intolerable living conditions of hostages, exposition of them to physical tortures and moral insults, exploitation of labor.
Azerbaijan supported the peaceful solution of the problem at the beginning; today it also demonstrates its readiness for the solution of the armed conflict through political means. One of the possible conditions for the peaceful solution of the conflict is the liberation of the Azerbaijani hostages and their return home. Drafts of the agreement based on the initial agreement concerning the fates of hostages were prepared only in Azerbaijan and were sent to the opposite side. The International organizations have highly appreciated this document. Unfortunately, Armenia refuses to sign this document on different pretexts. The Republic of Azerbaijan reaffirmed that it respects the accepted humanitarian standards and demonstrated good will through liberation of 29 Armenians with the mediation of the International Red Cross Committee without any condition.
Drawing attention to it I hope that Armenia will take certain measures and also liberate the Azerbaijani citizens and support the attempts for the peaceful solution of the conflict. We are ready to show our good will in future as well, that is why, we hope that Armenia will also take such measures on the humanitarian issues. Not only Azerbaijan, but also the whole world is expecting it. I am sure that the proper steps of the Republic of Armenia will be a ground for stability in the region and mutual understanding environment between the two neighboring countries and it will recover the trust between our peoples.
Translated from «Xalq» newspaper, August 28, 2001