"The issue of exchange of prisoners is constantly on the agenda,” the spokesperson said. “In particular, the meeting of the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian foreign ministers in Moscow in April 2019 was devoted to this topic. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group also took part in the meeting. During this meeting, the parties agreed to take joint measures to allow relatives to meet with the detainees in the territories of the parties.”
“As you know, a citizen of Azerbaijan and a citizen of Armenia returned to their homeland through the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross in June 2019,” Zakharova said. “We welcome this extremely important action and see it as the first step in improving the fate of those imprisoned. I can say that the work on other prisoners is underway. If an agreement is reached, we will certainly support it."
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.
Besides, a citizen of Azerbaijan, a resident of the Yukhary Salakhly village of Gazakh district Elvin Ibrahimov, born in 1986, left his home March 15 and went to work. On his way he got lost on the border between Azerbaijan’s Gazakh district and Armenia’s Noyemberyan district and crossed the border.
Ibrahimov and Armenian citizen Zaven Karapetyan (1974), detained on the territory of the Gazakh district June 20, 2017, were handed over to the relevant parties June 28, 2019.
The hostage exchange was organized by the Azerbaijan State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons and the State Border Service through the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
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, 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 Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.