Baku, Azerbaijan, March 10
By Anakhanum Khidayatova - Trend:
The release of Azerbaijanis kept hostage by Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh would be a humanitarian gesture that would be a very good step forward in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta told reporters on Mar.10.
He was commenting on the "trial" for the Azerbaijani hostages Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.
The ambassador said this question was brought by the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland during her visit to Armenia.
"I know all are working very hard to find a way forward [in the settlement of the conflict]," said Cekuta. "We continue trying to find a solution helping develop the framework for peaceful resolution for this conflict."
He added that it is going to be quite a lot of work by the parties involved.
During an operation in the Shaplar village of Azerbaijan's occupied Kalbajar district on July 11, 2014 Armenian forces killed an Azerbaijani, Hasan Hasanov, and detained two other Azerbaijanis, Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov. A criminal case was filed against them.
Earlier, "the court" sentenced Asgarov to life imprisonment and Guliyev - to 22 years in prison.
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 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.
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