Baku, Azerbaijan, July 23
By Seba Aghayeva - Trend:
There are no Russian citizens among the Azerbaijanis taken hostage by Armenians in Azerbaijan's occupied Kalbajar region, Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Vladimir Dorokhin said.
He made the remarks in his letter to the deputy speaker of Azerbaijani parliament, Bahar Muradova, according to the website of the Russian embassy in Azerbaijan.
"I officially state that there are no Russian citizens among the Azerbaijanis taken hostage during the incident in the Kalbajar region," the letter said.
Earlier, Armenian media reported that the Armenian forces, during an operation in the occupied Kalbajar District's Shaplar village, detained two Azerbaijanis - Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov. It was reported that the latter is a Russian citizen.
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.
Edited by CN