Baku, Azerbaijan, July 18
By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continues dialogue with parties on the Azerbaijanis, who according to Armenian media, were taken hostage in Kalbajar district by Armenian soldiers, the ICRC Baku Office Communication Department's Head, Ilaha Huseynova told Trend on July 18.
Regarding the sharp statements about the ICRC made by Ali Hasanov, the Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of State Committee for Refugees and IDPs, Huseynova said, "We do not comment on opinions of the officials."
Ali Hasanov previously said the ICRC Azerbaijan Office has been seriously warned.
"If in a short time it will not be possible to meet with those taken hostage in Kalbajar, then very serious measures will be taken in respect to the ICRC Azerbaijani Office, up to their expulsion from the country," Hasanov said.
The deputy PM said the impossibility of meeting with Azerbaijanis taken hostage in Kalbajar throughout a week, casts doubt on the activities of the ICRC.
"Which one of those captured or taken hostage in Azerbaijan was tortured? Why as soon as an Armenian hostage appears on the Azerbaijani side, the ICRC appeals to the Azerbaijani government and immediately provides a meeting. Why does not the Armenian side do this? Therefore, during a meeting with the management of the ICRC Azerbaijani Office, I made a serious warning," Ali Hasanov explained.
"If they do not achieve this, then very serious measures will be taken against the Azerbaijani Office of the International Committee of the Red Cross, up to their expulsion from the country. They better try to take some action," Hasanov added.
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.
Previously, it was reported that Azerbaijan appealed to the ICRC to clarify the media reports on the hostage-taking of Azerbaijani citizens by the Armenian side. The appeal contained a request to carry out the necessary procedures in accordance with the ICRC's mandate, in case if the information is confirmed.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry dismissed the Armenian media reports on affiliation of the mentioned persons to the country's armed forces.
The ministry also stated that the occupied lands are the territories of sovereign Azerbaijan, and a ban cannot be imposed on the free movement of Azerbaijanis in these territories.
Despite the claims of the Armenian side, these individuals did not violate the state border, because the lands controlled by the illegal "fictitious" regime, are the Azerbaijani territories recognized by the UN, the ministry said.
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 S.I.
ICRC continues dialogue on Azerbaijanis taken hostage
Baku, Azerbaijan, July 18