“On Dec. 23, 2019, municipal elections will be held in Azerbaijan for the fifth time,” reads the appeal. “The country has created all the conditions for holding elections in free, democratic, fair conditions and the exercise of electoral rights by Azerbaijani citizens.”
“Except for Nagorno Karabakh occupied by Armenia and the surrounding districts, municipal institutions have been operating in every district, village and settlement in Azerbaijan for 20 years,” the appeal said. “Armenia’s aggression policy deprived hundreds of thousands of people who became IDPs, of the right granted by Azerbaijan’s Constitution to elect and be elected to municipal authorities.”
“Armenia’s occupation policy deprived us, along with all fundamental rights and freedoms, of the opportunity to form our local self-governing body,” the community said. “The Azerbaijanis, who are the indigenous inhabitants of Nagorno Karabakh, with the end of occupation by Armenia, want to safely and with dignity return to their lands.”
“We confidently declare that after returning to their lands, Azerbaijanis expelled from the occupied territories will contribute to the activities of municipal bodies,” reads the appeal. “Not only us, but also the Armenian community will use the self-governing bodies formed in our region.”
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno Karabakh and the surrounding districts.