As I wrote on 24 February 2006, Netherland’s Secretary of State for Education, Culture and Science was inquired about the destruction of Jugha cemetery by the Azerbaijani government.

Dutch authorities have responded to Dutch MP C. G. van der Staaij of the SGP (Reformed Political Party) , Holandahay Forum informs.

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Below are the politically correct (I should say, boringly ignorant) and uninformative answers.

Answers of Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot, also on behalf of Secretary of State for Education, Culture and Science Van der Laan, on written questions of Dutch MP Kees van der Staaij (SGP ) on the destruction of Armenian Khachkars of Old Jougha.


Question 1
Is the report correct that by the order of the Azerbaijani authorities in December 2005 graves of particular historic and cultural significance were destroyed and desecrated at the Armenian cemetery in Djulfa in Nakhichevan? Could you inform us of the precise state of affairs?

The factual correctness of the reporting can not yet be assessed. The issue has been raised by the Armenian authorities on 22 December 2005 at the OSCE Permanent Council. Azerbaijani authorities reject the accusations.

Question 2
Could the government confirm whether the destruction is related to the dormant conflict of Nagorno Karabagh?

As long as the actual facts of the case are not clarified, one is also not sure about the cause. The parties have not yet found a solution to the conflict and tensions can continue to occur.

Question 3
To what extend has Azerbaijan been sensitive to international criticism to similar destruction in past years?

In reaction to international criticism of this kind Azerbaijan usually points the finger accusingly towards Armenia. Armenia would have, in the eyes of Azerbaijani authorities, deliberately neglected or destroyed the Azerbaijani cultural heritage in Nagorno Karabagh and nearby provinces.

Question 4
Is the Dutch government prepared to back the EU statement by condemning the events and reminding Azerbaijan over her obligations vis-à-vis her membership of the Council of Europe and participation in the European Neighbourhood policy.

The Netherlands has already, on 1 February 2006. spoken out at the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europa, in favour of an international investigation on the destructions. In the Action Plan of the Council of Europe and in the Action Plan of the EU, which is set up within the Neighbourhood Policy, attention is paid to the preservation of cultural heritage on basis of Azerbaijani obligations with regard to her membership of the Council of Europe and the European Neighbourhood Policy.