Demonstration on the occasion of the visit by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan

Press Release: Friends and supporters of Azerbaijan, including the German office of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), assembled in front of the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt) on 6 April to protest about the visit by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.

His reception in Berlin came four days after Armenia launched military attacks against Azerbaijani positions and mainly large civilian settlements, including the housing for some of the approximately one million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), who are the ongoing victims of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions. The attacks were launched from Azerbaijani sovereign territory occupied by Armenia, in defiance of four resolutions by the UN Security Council and other resolutions passed by the European Parliament, the Bundestag and other international organisations. Azerbaijan had no choice but to defend its civilian population and had to respond militarily. Azerbaijan unilaterally ceased fire on 3 April in response to international appeals, but Armenia has continued to target civilian settlements.

Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions of Azerbaijan were invaded more than 20 years ago by Armenia in a war that left 30,000 dead and drove an estimated one million Azerbaijanis from their land, homes and property in a massive operation of ethnic cleansing. The worst atrocity of the war was when Armenian forces slaughtered 613 Azerbaijani citizens escaping the town of Khojaly as it was invaded. Serzh Sargsyan was a commander of those forces. Altogether, around 20 per cent of Azerbaijani territory remains occupied by Armenia, despite 22 years of fruitless mediation by the OSCE Minsk Group, Co-Chaired by the US, France and Russia – all of which are home to significant and powerful Armenian diaspora populations.

The latest attacks were launched at a stage when the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair states were offering new approaches and ideas for a negotiated settlement of the conflict under clearly stated positions. Taking place on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in the US, both sides received high-level messages urging a peaceful solution. A major offensive at such a time threatens to derail the peace process and stability across the whole region.

The demonstration called upon the international community to force Armenia to release the occupied territories and implement the four UN Security Council resolutions. It raised the question of sanctions against Armenia until it withdraws from internationally-recognised Azerbaijani lands. It asked why Federal Chancellor Merkel was meeting one of the prime initiators of Armenian aggression, with responsibility for the Khojaly Massacre.

Mr Shahin Namati-Nasab, Director, TEAS Germany and chair of the demonstration drafted a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel beforehand reminding her of Armenia’s defiance of the four 1993 United Nations Security Council resolutions that confirmed Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and called for Armenia to withdraw and halt their military operations.