The extended 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is being held in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia.
Harutyun Vanyan, Head of the History and Cultural Monuments’ Preservation Department of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Armenia, is also participating in this event, the ministry informs Armenian News-NEWS.am.
In his address at aforesaid session, Vanyan drew the audience's attention to the fact that Azerbaijan, constantly politicizing UNESCO's cultural platform, makes groundless and false accusations against Armenia, and noted that this behavior contradicts this organization’s values and principles.
Also, the representative of Armenia expressed an objection regarding the Azerbaijani proposal to put the Azokh and Verin Tagher caves in Nagorno-Karabakh on the preliminary list of Azerbaijan. Vanyan stated that these caves are located in Nagorno-Karabakh’s Hadrut region, which came under the Azerbaijani control as a result of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan in 2020. He added that since then, Azerbaijan has embarked on a state-sponsored cultural genocide of the millennium-old Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The resolution adopted by the European Parliament on March 10, 2022 was also cited, by which this organization condemns Azerbaijan for the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh and the spread of Armenophobia in Azerbaijan.
Harutyun Vanyan noted that until now Azerbaijan refuses to grant the right of access to Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories to the UNESCO fact-finding mission to carry out the inventory of the most important Armenian cultural treasures, which was proposed by the Director-General of UNESCO in November 2020 as a prerequisite for the effective protection of the region's heritage.
Along with its inhumane blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh since December 12, 2022, these actions of Azerbaijan testify to the genocidal intent to destroy the indigenous Armenian population and erase any trace of its cultural heritage, Vanyan added.
The urgent need for the deployment of an UNESCO mission to Nagorno-Karabakh was stressed, too, and Armenia's readiness to collaborate with the organization on this matter was emphasized.