Baku, Azerbaijan, July 23
By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:
The Azerbaijanis taken hostage by Armenians in Azerbaijan's occupied Kalbajar region are patriots and heroes and they shouldn't be accused under any circumstances, Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov said on July 23.
He made the remarks at the commemoration ceremony in connection with the 21st anniversary of occupation of Azerbaijan's Aghdam region.
Hasanov said that the Azerbaijanis (Shahbaz Guliyev, Dilgam Asgarov and Hasan Hasanov) were taken hostage by Armenians while visiting the graves of their relatives.
Commenting on the related reports of the Armenian media, the deputy prime minister underscored that the Armenian side accused the captured Azerbaijanis of committing various crimes.
Hasanov said the Armenian media reported that Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov have repeatedly visited the occupied territories of Kalbajar region.
At the time of their visits, a 17-year-old Armenian was killed there, and Armenians, failing to solve the murder, pinned it on Guliyev and Asgarov.
Earlier, Armenian media reported that the Armenian forces, during an operation in the occupied Kalbajar District's Shaplar village, killed an Azerbaijani - Hasan Hasanov, and detained two other Azerbaijanis - Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov. They also reported about the launching of criminal cases against the detained Azerbaijanis.
Armenian media also reported that one Armenian officer was killed and his wife was wounded during the capture of Azerbaijanis.
On July 15, the Azerbaijani State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing People said the fate of Azerbaijani citizens taken hostages in the Kalbajar District, is its priority.
Ilaha Huseynova told Trend on July 16 that the families of Azerbaijanis, taken hostage by Armenians in Kalbajar, have officially appealed to the ICRC.
She added that currently the ICRC continues talks with the parties on this matter.
Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry dismissed the Armenian media reports on affiliation of the mentioned persons to the country's armed forces.
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, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions
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