Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   14 October

Exchanging Azerbaijani convicts with Armenian captives is Artsakh's sovereign right - def.min.

Exchanging Azerbaijani convicts with Armenian captives is Artsakh's sovereign right - def.min.

YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 20, ARMENPRESS. Armenia’s Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan doesn’t rule out the possibility of the exchange of two Armenian captives in Azerbaijan Karen Ghazaryan and Araik Ghazaryan with two imprisoned Azerbaijani convicts in Artsakh – Dilham Askerov and Shahbaz Guliyev.

“I don’t rule out, but this is an issue of Nagorno Karabakh’s sovereign decision,” he said, commenting on the proposal made by an Azerbaijani commission dealing with POWs.

Tonoyan said he has had a meeting with the ICRC Armenia representatives over the matter and the latter officially delivered the Azerbaijani proposal.

“There are several issues of discussion which I cannot reveal. Certain information requires additional clarification. We will respond when we will receive this clarified information from Azerbaijan,” Tonoyan said.

“I am not viewing the issue from the perspective of exchange, and this isn’t a correct approach at least from the defense minister’s side. I am working in order to return my citizens to Armenia,” Tonoyan said.

Askerov and Guliyev are serving a life sentence and 22 years term respectively in Artsakh for espionage, kidnapping and murder. The two men illegally crossed into Artsakh in an attempted sabotage and murdered a minor.

Karen Ghazaryan is a mentally ill Armenian civilian from the village of Berdavan who appeared in Azerbaijani territory and was captured on July 15, 2018.

The other man, Arayik Ghazaryan [no relation], is a serviceman of the Artsakh military who crossed into Azerbaijan August 12, 2019 in circumstances yet to be determined. At one point authorities believed the soldier got lost while AWOL.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan


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