Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 22
By Elchin Mehdiyev - Trend:
The Azerbaijani governments focuses on the issue of returning Azerbaijanis - Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, taken hostage by the Armenians in the occupied Kalbajar region, as well as the corpse of murdered Hasan Hasanov, chairman of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov told media Aug. 22.
"Azerbaijan appealed to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) with a proposal to exchange the hostages," he said.
He stressed that Azerbaijan offers Armenia to exchange an Armenian family consisting of five persons, as well as the corpse of the Armenian saboteur, who died of heart failure, for Azerbaijanis, taken hostage in the occupied Kalbajar region, and Hasan Hasanov's corpse.
"The ICRC told the Azerbaijani side that the Armenians are willing to exchange only the corpse of murdered Hasan Hasanov for the corpse of a saboteur, who died as a result of heart failure," he said.
"The Azerbaijani side said that it will not recede from its original proposal," he said.
Hasanov said that he meets with the ICRC representatives in Azerbaijan once in two days. He said at the last meeting that the country quickly responds to the ICRC's every appeal and provides all the necessary information about the hostages. However, the Armenian side does not act this way.
Previously, Armenian media reported that the Armenian forces, during an operation in the occupied Kalbajar region's Shaplar village on July 11, killed an Azerbaijani - Hasan Hasanov, and detained two other Azerbaijanis - Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov.
A criminal case was filed against them.
The ICRC told Trend earlier that Azerbaijani citizen Hasan Hasanov was buried in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijani State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing People said the fate of Azerbaijani citizens taken hostages in the Kalbajar region is its priority.
The families of Azerbaijanis, taken hostage by Armenians in Kalbajar region, 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 denied the information about 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..