Address of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev to the Azerbaijani people on the seventh anniversary of the Khojali genocide - Baku, February 25, 1999

Dear compatriots!

Eight years have passed since the Khojali massacre, one of the most brutal terror acts in the history of mankind. On February 26, 1992, together with the 366th Motor Rifle Regiment of the former Soviet Army, the Armenian armed forces destroyed the city of Khojali and murdered hundreds of innocent people, including women, children and the old with unparalelled ferocity. The Armenian nationalists demonstrated their savagery with the crime committed in Khojali.

The then authorities of Azerbaijan bear responsibility for the Khojali tragedy. Instead of helping the city defenders, who were besieged for a long time, the authorities remained indifferent to the situation. They even tried to veil the crimes committed by the Armenian aggressors. Chaos and struggle for political power also played a negative role in the tragedy. The Khojali genocide was just used for political debates, not for disclosing the brutality of the Armenian terrorists.

The Khojali massacre is one of the biggest tragedies in history. A lot must be done in order to inform the world community about the Khojali tragedy and for preventing such tragedies in other parts of the world.

The Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan did not end after the Khojali genocide. Even though the military operations were stopped according to the ceasefire agreement five years ago, the results of the war have not yet been removed. The efforts of Azerbaijan and international organizations have not yielded effective results. Our territories are still under the Armenian occupation, while over one million displaced people live in hard conditions.

Heroism of our martyrs encourage us to struggle for liberating the occupied territories and return the displaced people home. The Azerbaijani government will take necessary steps to punish the organizers of the Khojali tragedy and other crimes committed against the Azerbaijani people.

I express my condolense to the Azerbaijani people in the day of mourning. May all martyrs rest in peace!

Heydar Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Translated from newspaper "Azerbaycan", February 26, 1999