Azerbaijan locates body of previously missing serviceman (UPDATE)

Politics Materials 19 April 2016 16:04 (UTC +04:00)

Details added (first version posted on 14:56)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 19


The Azerbaijani side has located and took away the body of a serviceman who died during prevention of the Armenian provocation on the contact line of troops, Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense said in a message.

The body was discovered in the area where searches were carried out repeatedly. Earlier, the Armenian side said it located the serviceman's body, yet refused to hand it over to Azerbaijan.

"On April 19, the search for the Azerbaijani serviceman, who went missing on the battle field, has been renewed with the mediation of the ICRC and the OSCE representatives," the message said. "This gives grounds to say that the Armenian side took away the body earlier, and for some unknown reasons kept it and didn't inform either the mediators or the Azerbaijani side."

After the official information was disseminated that the search will be resumed on April 19, the Armenian side secretly brought the body to the area where the search was previously carried out, according to the defense ministry.

Procedures to clarify the conditions, reasons and time of death of the Azerbaijani serviceman are currently being implemented, a forensic examination to identify the signs of violence, abuse of body, identification expertise and other necessary procedures are being conducted, the defense ministry said.

On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.

Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.

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 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.