A nation is known, recognized and distinguished among the world nations by certain characteristic features. The highest and the greatest of these features is culture.

HEYDAR ALIYEV
10168

Statement by the Ministry for Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Referring to the reports circulated by some biased foreign mass media outlets over the past few days, we would like to underline that, Azerbaijan has always been respectful of its historical and cultural heritage, regardless of religious and ethnic origin. Similar approach is followed also in relation to historical and cultural heritage located in liberated Azerbaijani territories. Azerbaijani officials have repeatedly stated that historical and religious monuments located in our liberated territories constitute part of the Azerbaijani heritage and as such, their protection falls under the responsibility of the Azerbaijani state. Restoration of mosques along with 2 Christian churches, within the large-scale restoration and reconstruction process in Shusha, can be considered as a vivid example of this. Unlike Armenia, Azerbaijan does not discriminate its historical and cultural heritage based on religious and ethnic ground and is committed to its obligations under international conventions, including the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. It should be added that, the Ministry for Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan is currently conducting relevant monitoring procedures in the liberated territories.

When it comes to the ancient Albanian heritage in the liberated Azerbaijani territories, it should be noted that a working group has been set up to study this heritage. The working group, comprised of both local and international experts, will monitor and study this Christian heritage, subject to the security conditions on the ground. Should any falsifications be identified, they will be documented with the participation of international experts and presented to the international community. We would also like to recall that any alterations on the historical and cultural heritage, as well as altering their origin runs in contradiction with the provisions of the 1954 Hague Convention.

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