YEREVAN (Armenpress) — In an interview this week, the head of the international organizations department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Vahram Kazhoyan, said all Armenian cultural heritage presence has been destroyed in Nakhichevan, now an exclave of Azerbaijan.
According to him, Azerbaijan insists on saying that Armenia is preventing the formation of a fact-finding mission there.
He said, “All allegations, which state that Armenia is against the monitoring missions of historic-cultural monuments, including the fact-finding mission within the UNESCO “Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict” Hague 1954 Convention are false.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan, despite numerous requests, refuses to accept the UNESCO fact-finding mission, as well as the joint mission of [International Commission on Monuments and Sites] ICOMOS and [United Nations Committee for Education, Science and Culture] UNESCO to Nakhichevan for ‘Researching Jugha and presenting results to the international community’ which was adopted in 2008 by the ICOMOS council.”
He continued, “From 1998-2006, the Azerbaijani forces have completely destroyed the cross-stones and tombstones of the Armenian cemetery of Jugha, which dated back to the 9-16 centuries, and were unique and of high cultural value. The site of the cemetery was transformed into a shooting range.” He noted that the government in Baku is not allowing foreign diplomats to visit the site.
He concluded, “Unlike Azerbaijan, all monuments in Nagorno Karabagh, regardless of origin, are under state protection, which can be witnessed by thousands of tourists.”