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Armenİa must return Azerbaİjanİ hostages, says FM

 APA. The recent meeting between presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Bern focused on humanitarian aspects of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said in an interview with AZERTAC news agency.

 

Mammadyarov said that the issue of releasing Azerbaijanis Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev was raised once again by President Ilham Aliyev during the meeting.

 

The minister mentioned that the Astrakhan Declaration of October 2010 issued by the presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia as well as their Sochi declarations on 5 March 2011 and 23 January 2012 include return of hostages, captives, and bodies as well as the issue of cooperation on humanitarian aspects of the conflict.  

 

“At the Paris meeting of the presidents, it was proposed that a mechanism should be created for exchange of information through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in order to learn the fate of missing people. With more than 4,000 citizens believed to have gone missing, Azerbaijan supports this humanitarian initiative of French President François Hollande,” the FM noted.

 

In this respect, Azerbaijan praises the humanitarian mission being carried out by the ICRC and the Swiss government. “According to the latest ICRC list, 4,496 people are considered missing. We hope that this project, if carried out successfully, will allow us to inform the families of people who have been missing for more than two decades about their fates,” said Mammadyarov.   

 

The minister went on to add that the statement dated 3 December 2015 of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs praised Azerbaijan handing over to Armenia a soldier and a civilian who had crossed the contact line as an exemplary humanitarian act and a step taken in accordance with international humanitarian obligations. “The parties are also urged to return all captives and prisoners in the spirit of the Astrakhan Declaration.”

 

In addition, Azerbaijan has recently handed over another Armenian family to the opposite side as a humane gesture, Mammadyarov noted. “Therefore, it is Armenia's turn to participate in the exchange of information on missing persons and release Azerbaijanis Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev in line with the international humanitarian obligations and calls of the OSCE Minsk Group.”

 

Mammadyarov said Azerbaijan is ready for talks that can contribute to eliminating the consequences of the Armenian occupation and ensuring its territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognized borders.  

 

According to the minister, in 2016, Azerbaijan together with the OSCEMG will continue efforts towards the settlement of the conflict.

 

“The Armenian leadership should finally realize that, the unacceptable and unsustainable status quo should be changed as required by the international community, and Armenian troops must leave the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Only then peace and stability can be established in the region, and great opportunities can be opened up for the comprehensive economic development,” said Mammadyarov

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İbad Hüseynov — Azərbaycan hərbçisi

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