Work underway to free Azerbaijani hostages taken by Armenia (UPDATE)
Details added (first version posted on 10:45)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 28
By Elchin Mehdiyev – Trend:
The work continued with the Russian Federation, OSCE and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in connection with the release of Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, who were taken hostage by Armenians in their native lands, said Spokesman of Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Hikmat Hajiyev.
He made the remarks at a press conference on the outcome of 2017 foreign policy in Baku Dec. 28.
Hajiyev said that as a result of the Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan, the issue of about 4,000 missing Azerbaijanis was discussed with international organizations.
During an operation in July 2014 in Shaplar village of Azerbaijani Kalbajar district occupied by Armenia, the Armenian special forces killed an Azerbaijani, Hasan Hasanov, and took hostage two other Azerbaijanis, Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilgam Asgarov.
A "criminal case" was initiated against them. Afterwards, a "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 withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.