BAKU—Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has urged the OSCE Minsk Group of mediators to pressure Armenia into releasing Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, two Azeri commandos who were caught making an incursion into Armenian territory, in the course of which they killed one Armenian teenager. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov disclosed Aliyev’s request to Azeri news agency APA.
The minister said that the president discussed the issue at a meeting with the Minsk Group co-chairs and demanded them to take serious steps to fulfill his request.
“The International Committee of the Red Cross is currently dealing with this issue. We are in touch with them and hope for a positive result in the coming days,” Mammadyarov said.
Azeri commandos Shahbaz Guliyev and Dilham Askerov entered Karvachar in the summer. The third commando, Hasan Hasanov, was killed, and his body was handed over to Baku earlier this month.
The actions of the commando group left an underage resident of Karvachar and an Armenian serviceman killed, as well as one woman wounded.
Azerbaijan continues to insist that members of the group had “arrived” in Nagorno Karabakh to visit the graves of their relatives.
Mammadyarov said, “Azerbaijan is anticipating a serious progress from the presidents’ trilateral meeting to take place in Paris in late October.”
The minister said Azerbaijan is willing to start developing a peace treaty on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without delay, adding that the co-chairs put forth some structural proposals covering a number of issues.
The Minsk Group’s U.S. Co-Chairman James Warlick was unable to visit Azerbaijan, the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan said.
“Ambassador Warlick had planned to travel to the region this week as part of a Minsk Group Co-Chair official visit, but due to a personal matter he was not able to make the trip. The U.S. side was nonetheless represented in meetings with the government of Azerbaijan. He has every expectation that the visit of his colleagues will be productive, and he is looking forward to the upcoming meeting of the Presidents in Paris,” the Embassy said in a statement.