Baku included a journalist of The New-York Times on its list of undesirable persons held by Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry after the reporter made an illegal visit to the Azerbaijani territories under Armenia’s occupation.
Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Hikmet Hajiyev said the article by Seth Kugel, the New York Times journalist, distorted the real situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, showing a clear disrespect to the readers of the newspaper.
“Kugel’s action is also disrespectful to the rights of more than one million Azerbaijani refugees and internally displaced persons who suffered from bloody ethnic cleansing atrocities in the occupied territories. It is regrettable for The New-York Times to publish such an article,” Hajiyev said.
Writing about his illegal visit to Nagorno-Karabakh, and Shusha city in particular, Kugel titled his article “A warm welcome in the South Caucasus mountains”, where he described the lifestyle and nature in the occupied Azerbaijani lands.
Hajiyev said Kugel avoided deliberately to properly reflect certain facts — looting of property in the occupied lands belonging to Azerbaijani people, the destruction of material culture samples and the Islamic monuments in his biased article written on order from the Armenian lobby.
“I would like to remind the management of The New-York Times, which published that biased article about “tourist trips” to the occupied territories presenting it “safe for travelers”, that its journalist failed to mention that such transnational crimes as human trafficking, production and sale of drugs, illicit arms trafficking, training of terrorists are organized in these territories,” he concluded.
Visiting the occupied lands without Baku’s official permit is considered a violation of the country’s law and a clear disrespect of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Foreign Ministry developed a special black list for all those who have failed to comply with Baku’s requirements and made illegal visits to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized Nagorno-Karabakh territory has become a conflict zone following Armenia’s aggression in the early 1990s. As a result of Armenia’s armed invasion, 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory fell under Armenia’s occupation. Although the OSCE has attempted to foster a peaceful resolution to this conflict Armenia has remained persistent in its aggressive stance.
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