Moscow [Russia], September 1 (ANI/Sputnik): Armenia hopes that UNESCO can send an assessment mission to Nagorno-Karabakh as soon as possible despite obstruction from Azerbaijan, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said on Wednesday.
"Armenia is interested in the implementation of a UNESCO assessment mission as soon as possible and continues to make targeted efforts in this direction," the minister said.
Armenia has requested an urgent UNESCO assessment mission to Nagorno-Karabakh since 2020, fearing monuments of Armenian Christian heritage to be in danger in areas that passed under Muslim Azerbaijan's control after the 44-day armed conflict, the minister said. Yerevan has documented multiple instances when Azerbaijani forces deliberately destroyed churches and other Armenian monuments in Nagorno-Karabakh at Baku's order, he added.
Citing UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone's statement on December 20, which said that the only obstacle to an assessment mission to Nagorno-Karabakh was Azerbaijan's pending response, Mirzoyan said that "the Azerbaijani government continues to politicize and hinder the visit of UNESCO experts" because "it wants to conceal its cultural crimes."
The decades-long Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan flared up again last September, resulting in thousands of military and civilian casualties on both sides. Russia brokered a ceasefire deal on November 9 and deployed mediators to the region to monitor the truce. (ANI/Sputnik)