Head of the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan Tural Ganjaliyev has sent a letter of protest to the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA).
The letter expresses the deepest concern and resentment of the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region with regard to the information published on CONIFA’s website that the Confederation will host “2019 European Football Cup” in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan in June 2019, Ganjaliyev told News.Az.
“Armenia’s military aggression led to the occupation of twenty percent of the territory of Azerbaijan – Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts. Armenia carried out a total ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani population in the occupied territories, including Nagorno-Karabakh,” reads the letter. “Conducting of that policy culminated in ethnic cleansing with over one million of Azerbaijanis becoming refugees and IDPs. Currently, more than 80,000 members of the Azerbaijani community of the Nagorno-Karabakh region have been forced to live as IDP’s in different regions across Azerbaijan for more than 30 years.”
The letter stresses that the organization of this tournament by the CONIFA blatantly violates the norms and principles of international law and contradicts the official stance of the world community and the international organizations which support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.
This provocative act by CONIFA not only endangers the regional peace and stability, but also undermines the peace process and negotiations being held between the parties, the letter says.
“I would like to remind you that there is only one professional football club Qarabağ FC representing the Azerbaijanis from the occupied territories. This club currently hosts its home matches in Baku, far away from the city of Aghdam which is completely destroyed and is under occupation by the Armenian troops. Nonetheless, Qarabağ FC has been forced to live and play outside of Aghdam, the club has achieved the world prominence by participating at the group stage of the Champion’s League of UEFA. Here we see that the CONIFA’s action is in full contradiction with the rules and regulations of the UEFA and shows a complete disrespect to the European and world’s sport community.”
“That’s said, I urge you to recognize the inappropriate and harmful nature of your planned tournament and to cancel it immediately. This provocative action gives publicity to the illegal regime in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, therefore encouraging separatism and irredentism in the region already devastated by Armenian military occupation. By organizing this tournament in the war-torn region, the CONIFA and, you, as its President bear a heavy responsibility for the lives of the tournament participants, foreign journalists and other media representatives for sending them to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan,” according to the letter.
The letter states that the UN Security Council resolutions recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh region as an integral part of Azerbaijan and demand immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. This demand was reaffirmed in resolutions and decisions of other international organizations such as the Non-Aligned Movement, OSCE, NATO, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and etc.
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