Jen Psaki: US previously advocated release of Azerbaijani hostages
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 24
By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:
The US has previously advocated the release of Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, taken hostages in the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia, the spokesperson for the US Department of State, Jen Psaki told reporters.
She was commenting on a question regarding the remarks made by the US Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, who during a visit to Baku urged the relevant authorities to make a humanitarian gesture concerning the Azerbaijani hostages.
Psaki said the US has previously urged through the Ambassador James Warlick and others to release the two hostages to the government of Azerbaijan.
During an operation in the Shaplar village of Azerbaijan's occupied Kalbajar district on July 11, 2014 the Armenian forces killed an Azerbaijani, Hasan Hasanov, and detained two other Azerbaijanis, Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov. A criminal case was filed against them.
The so-called court in Nagorno-Karabakh sentenced Asgarov to life imprisonment and Guliyev to 22 years in prison.
"The sides have generally found a way in the past to return prisoners as a humanitarian gesture, and such humanitarian gestures have been shown to reduce tensions and build trust between the sides," Psaki said, adding, "So that's what she [Nuland] was referring to."
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan 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 US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Edited by SI
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