Council of Europe urges Armenia to return body of Azerbaijani serviceman

23:35   11 January 2017    1674

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland urged Armenia to return the body of the Azerbaijani serviceman, without delay.

"The Council of Europe does not have a direct role in the negotiations, and always refers to, and supports the role of, the OSCE Minsk-Group" - said Jagland in the statement.

"However, we are concerned about the humanitarian aspects of the conflict. I am aware that the violations of the ceasefire on 29 December resulted in casualties, and that the Armenian Armed Forces are still holding the body of an Azerbaijani serviceman killed in the fighting. I urge the parties to respect the ceasefire, and I fully support the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group’s call for the return, without delay, of human remains - in accordance with the agreements of the Astrakhan Summit of 2010 - bearing in mind the humanitarian nature of this issue," said statement.

A reconnaissance group of the Armenian Armed Forces tried to violate the Azerbaijan-Armenia state border on Dec. 29, 2016. The Armenian group found itself in the ambush of the Azerbaijani army while violating the borders and suffered heavy losses. Chingiz Gurbanov, a serviceman of Azerbaijani Armed Forces, went missing during the fight.

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.

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