OSCE PA supports Azerbaijan’s proposal for “all to all” hostage exchange principle

14:41 | 6 December, 2018

Milan hosted a meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) Bureau, and vice-president of the structure, Azerbaijani MP Azay Guliyev made a speech at this meeting, Trend reports Dec. 6.

Guliyev brought to the attention of the Bureau members the initiative put forward by the Azerbaijani side for the exchange on the “all to all” principle of the persons taken prisoner and hostage, and registered both from the Armenian and from the Azerbaijani side by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“This initiative of Azerbaijan is a very humane approach, and there are enough grounds for its support from the OSCE PA,” he said. “The implementation of this initiative can play a positive role in creating a certain environment of trust between the parties and achieving progress in the peace talks. I believe that the new leadership of Armenia should correctly assess the good intentions of Azerbaijan, and not to miss this unique chance, which can create good conditions for negotiations. Therefore, I urge President of the OSCE PA George Tsereteli and the Bureau members to support this initiative and to leave the matter in the main political agenda of the Assembly.”

Guliyev reminded that he had sent an official letter to Margareta Kiener Nellen, chairperson of the OSCE PA Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions, to assist in the release of Azerbaijanis Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev who had been held for four years in Armenian captivity, and give assessment to this issue in terms of gross violation of human rights.

Tsereteli said that he welcomes the initiative of Azerbaijan, and steps will be taken in this direction.

During an operation in July 2014 in the 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.

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.