Baku, Azerbaijan, July 30
By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:
Azerbaijan has demanded the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to take serious measures and return the Azerbaijanis taken hostage by Armenians in Azerbaijan's occupied Kalbajar region.
Azerbaijan demands the return of Russian citizen Dilgam Asgarov, Azerbaijani citizen Shahbaz Guliyev and also the body of Hasan Hasanov, killed by Armenians.
The demand was put forward by Azerbaijan's Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the State Committee on Refugees and IDPs, Ali Hasanov during the meeting with the head of ICRC's Azerbaijani office, Denise Duran, the State Committee on Refugees and IDPs said on July 30.
Hasanov underscored that this situation increases the distrust to international organizations.
The committee head went on to add that if Armenia is reluctant to return the captured Azerbaijanis and the body of Hasan Hasanov, then it is pointless to talk about the future good neighborhood relations between the two countries based on mutual trust.
During the meeting, it was stressed that the return of the hostages is in the focus of attention of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the government is engaged in addressing this problem.
Head of the Working Group of the State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons of Azerbaijan, Firuddin Sadigov also took part at the meeting.
It was emphasized that the families of Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, taken hostage by Armenians in Azerbaijan's occupied Kalbajar region, have appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian ambassador to Azerbaijan, Vladimir Dorokhin, asking for assistance to release the captives.
Following the meeting, Azerbaijan's deputy prime minister received the family members of Hasan Hasanov.
Previously, 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.
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.
The families of Azerbaijanis, taken hostage by Armenians in Kalbajar, have officially appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). 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.