Baku, Azerbaijan, July 24
By Arzu Naghiyev - Trend:
Taking hostage two citizens of Azerbaijan who are native of Kalbajar region by the Armenian armed forces in occupied Kalbajar region, killing the third person and brazen dissemination of the information by the opposite side are beyond the limits. The reason is that no one is taken prisoner in the native land. They are kidnapped or taken hostage.
If these people wanted to visit their native lands and the graves of their relatives, if they want to freely move in their native land, why are they taken into "captivity"? Have they violated anyone's borders, sovereignty? Neither Armenian official, nor international organization can answer these questions. What laws govern hostage-taking of civilians in the occupied territories?
EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus Herbert Salber met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
During this meeting President Aliyev discussed the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said that Azerbaijan supports peaceful settlement of the conflict. But Armenia demonstrates the destructive position. It does not take into account international law or appeals of leaders of the co-chairing countries. As a result, the internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan is still occupied.
Azerbaijani officials made quite sharp statements and demands to return the citizens taken hostage. But so far there are no positive results.
Obviously, if this issue is not resolved fairly and as part of the international law, the situation in the region could further worsen.
Armenians do not understand that Azerbaijani citizens are tired of the empty promises of international organizations, they can take the initiative in their hands, and this has happened several times. Today the International Committee of the Red Cross is not able to return the hostages, because Yerevan does not want it. It does not even give the status of the hostages out of fear. This paves the way for further escalation of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Armenia is not able to fight and is interested in maintaining the status quo but for Azerbaijan, amid growing escalation, the probability of war or military intervention to liberate its countrymen remains as an option.
Another option is the possibility of the countries using the mediation represented in the OSCE Minsk Group.
The delay of the issue is in the interests of neither our fellow citizens taken hostage, nor Armenia. Torture endured by these hostages causes pain in the hearts of every Azerbaijani citizen. This may lead to demands for military intervention, which Armenia is afraid of. This situation may encourage the adoption of more stringent steps by officials and the president of Azerbaijan. The head of the state has repeatedly warned the Armenian leadership over the issue and has not denied the possibility of resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by force if negotiations will be fruitless.
That is why Armenia should hurry to return to Azerbaijan its two citizens taken hostage, and the corpse of another compatriot. Such opinions are also voiced in Armenia. Because if Armenia does not take this step, it will face military, diplomatic and moral losses...
Arzu Naghiyev is the Deputy Director General of Trend Agency.
Edited by CN