Address of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the Azerbaijani people on the tenth anniversary of the Khojali genocide - Baku, February 25, 2002

Dear compatriots!

Today I am addressing to you on the occasion of the Khojali massacre, which is a tragic page of our history, as well as one of the most brutal terror acts in the history of mankind.

The Khojali tragedy is a bloody page of the Armenian policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Azerbaijani people which has been going on over two hundred years. This policy backed by some states was conducted during the tsarist Russia and Soviet period and resulted in mass deportation of the Azerbaijanis from their homes, and mass destruction after the collapse of the USSR. Two million Azerbaijanis suffered from the results of the Armenian policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

After Azerbaijan gained independence the Armenian aggressors in the Nagorno-Karabakh destructed hundreds of settlements and made thousands of people leave their homes. Hovewer, the Khojali massacre was the most tragic of all. The then authorities and opposition of Azerbaijan bear responsibility for not preventing the bloody events and for leaving the population of Kojaly remain defenceless against the enemies equipped with modern weapons. Instead of helping the defenders of the town and inform the world community about the genocide, the authorities remained indifferent to the situation. No action for unveiling the facts of massacre and its organizers were taken even later. The Khojali genocide was just used for mutual accusations by the then government and opposition.

Committing the Khojali massacre, the Armenian chauvinists wanted to terrify our people. However, the enemies could not achieve their goals. Yes, it wounded our people. But the defenders of Khojali demonstrated heroism against the Armenian armed forces and wrote a heroic page of our history.

Now the Azerbaijani government and people must inform the world community about the massacre and achieve its recognition as a genocide. It is our debt for the martyrs of Khojali; at the same time, it is necessary to punish the organizers of that massacre.

The Azerbaijani government, citizens and diaspora abroad take a lot of measures for informing the world community about the massacre: books are being written, researces are being made, the massacre is being discussed in the parliaments of different countries and international organizations. Now it is important to pursue this course regularly and achieve the legal and political evluation of the tragedy internationally.

I express my condolense to the Azerbaijani people on the tenth anniversary of the Khojali tragedy. I assure our people that justice will be restored and the independent Azerbaijan will live forever.

Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Newspaper "Azerbaycan", February 26, 2002