ISTANBUL (AA) – Azerbaijan’s president said Monday his country had spent more than $6 billion on people made refugees as a result of humanitarian disasters caused by Armenia.
Speaking at the first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Ilham Aliyev said: “As the result of Armenia’s attacks, 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory is occupied and about a million people have been forced to flee the places they were born.”
Aliyev accused Armenia of committing ethnic cleansing and genocide in Azerbaijan, adding that more than 10 states recognized as ‘genocide’ 1992’s Khojaly massacre, in which 613 people were killed.
Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in occupied Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks.
The two-hour offensive killed 613 Azeri citizens, including 116 women and 63 children and critically injured 487 others, according to Azerbaijani figures.
The president insisted Armenia is continuing with such policies against Azerbaijan.
“Armenia attacked Azerbaijani citizens in April,” Aliyev said. “Our soldiers and civilians lost their lives. Five hundred houses were totally or partially destroyed as the result of attacks,” Aliyev said.
He also accused Armenia of ignoring UN Security Council decisions for protecting the lives of civilians.
Aliyev said that Karabakh and seven adjacent districts are still under occupation. These regions account for more than 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory.
The international community recognizes occupied Karabakh as Azerbaijani territory but it was taken over by Armenian secessionists when the Soviet Union broke up in the late 1980s.
Despite a peace deal in 1994, border skirmishes are a frequent occurrence.
At the beginning of April, tensions escalated into the worst outbreak of fighting since 1994, resulting in the deaths of more than 270 military personnel.