"SUMGAIT WAS THE CONTINUATION OF BAKU'S UNRELENTING POLICY OF PERSECUTION"
- Heritage faction has issued a statement on the 23rd anniversary of the Sumgait pogroms. "Today marks the 23rd anniversary of the Armenian genocide that took place in the Azerbaijani town of Sumgait. Using as a pretext the peaceful and lawful struggle of the people of Mountainous Karabagh (Artsakh), who had stood up for their right of self-determination and security, the Soviet Azerbaijani regime organized and carried out in 1988 a horrific operation geared toward the physical annihilation of its Armenian residents. And as a result of this action, hundreds of Armenians were either killed or maimed, and tens of thousands were forcibly deported toward Armenia and other republics of the former USSR. But this crime committed in Sumgait was just the continuation of official Baku's unrelenting policy of persecution against, and the ethnic cleansing of, the Armenian population which, as a consequence of Stalin's illegal decision, had found itself-and its indigenous lands-within the administrative structure of Soviet Azerbaijan. Indeed, it was because of this policy that the ancestral Armenian heartland of Nakhichevan was left completely devoid of its native Armenian population, whereas in Artsakh the absolute preponderance of the Armenian majority had rapidly decreased. Yet this policy signified a mere beginning of an ongoing genocide, which resulted in the large-scale killing and exile of hundreds of thousands of Armenians throughout the land-from Baku to Armenian Gandzak. Together with Sumgait and its military aggression against Artsakh, the now-independent Azerbaijan once more demonstrated its genocidal nature and proved that Artsakh can never, and under no status, be a part of that country because that will simply jeopardize the security of the Armenian population. A state according to which the solution of its purported citizens' grievances and the fulfillment of their rights lies in their physical extermination and forcible expulsion has no right to lay hegemonic claims upon Artsakh. And as for the international community-and the grand powers in particular-which has left the people of Artsakh all alone against Azerbaijani state aggression, today it has no right to demand that Artsakh give up its political independence and territorial integrity, which it achieved lawfully and owing to its last stand of self-defense. Instead, they are obliged to register and recognize that sovereignty and integrity to be in full compliance with the letter and spirit of international law.