It is necessary to actively work on the release of Dilgam Askerov and Shahbaz Guliyev, captured by Armenian armed forces, Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Ali Ahmedov said during the signing of a Memorandum of understanding between the government of Azerbaijan and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies July 3.
The Memorandum was signed by Ali Ahmedov and Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Elhadj As Sy. The purpose of signing the Memorandum is to create favorable conditions for the expansion of cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
Ali Ahmedov said the cooperation between Azerbaijan and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has deep roots.
The deputy prime minister spoke about the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said 20 percent of the country’s territory had been occupied as a result of the conflict and more than a million Azerbaijanis had become refugees and internally displaced persons. Ali Ahmedov noted that, the government highly appreciates the active support provided to Azerbaijan by this institution.
“The improvement of the socio-economic situation and housing conditions of internally displaced persons is one of the priority areas of activity of the country in the humanitarian field,” the deputy prime minister said.
Ahmedov also said four years have passed since the Azerbaijanis Dilgam Askerov and Shahbaz Guliyev were taken hostage by Armenians when visiting the graves of their relatives in the occupied Kelbajar region on July 11. Ali Ahmedov added that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies should use its capabilities and authority in this matter, and stressed the importance of active work to release these innocent people.
Elhadj As Sy expressed his satisfaction with the stay in Azerbaijan and the hospitality shown to him. The guest expressed confidence that the strengthening of cooperation between the organization and the government of Azerbaijan will create good opportunities. The secretary general added that the main goal is to help people not only in Azerbaijan, but also people in need throughout the region by studying their living conditions.
The sides exchanged views on other issues of interest during the meeting.
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.