Azerbaijan returns soldier to Armenia
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 18
Azerbaijan returned Armenia its soldier Andranik Grigoryan, born 1991, who on March 22 crossed the contact line of the two countries' troops, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) told Trend Nov. 18.
The soldier was handed over to Armenia near the village of Bash Garvand in Azerbaijan's Aghdam District.
The ICRC members regularly visited Grigoryan, evaluated the conditions he lived in, and helped him to keep in contact with his family members.
ICRC, as a neutral mediator and in line with its mandate, helped the process of returning Grigoryan to Armenia, after Azerbaijan decided to hand over the soldier.
Before the soldier was handed over, the ICRC members visited Grigoryan, who said he wanted to return to Armenia.
ICRC has since 1992 operated in the region in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in line with its mandate based on the Geneva conventions.
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.