By Vafa Ismayilova
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has slammed an EU official's unilateral and double-standard stance he expressed in a statement on the recent handover of five Armenian serivecemen to Yerevan.
"The statement by the spokesperson of the European Union (EU) in connection with the release of 5 Armenian servicemen is surprising. As it is known, Azerbaijani hostages Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev were held captive by Armenia for about 7 years and the EU remained indifferent to this situation," the ministry said in a statement posted on its official website.
The ministry stressed that "to date, the EU has not made any statement and has not expressed any reaction to the fact that during the latest military operations Armenia, using Smerch missiles, targeted at peaceful Azerbaijani civilians, killed more than 100 civilians, and more than 4,000 Azerbaijanis went missing during the First Karabakh War".
It recalled the EU that 62 people who were purposefully introduced into the liberated territories of Azerbaijan are not prisoners of war.
"They are Armenian servicemen sent to Azerbaijan almost 20 days after the war, after the signing of a trilateral statement on the cessation of hostilities. They invaded the territories where the Azerbaijani Army was located. Azerbaijani servicemen Turan Aliyev, Rahil Akbarov, Hajirza Rzayev, Ragib Azizov were killed and one civilian Seymur Rzayev was seriously wounded as a result of terrorist acts committed by this terrorist-saboteur group," the statement said.
"These persons are not considered prisoners of war either under international humanitarian law or under any convention. In accordance with the relevant legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan, these people who committed terror acts have been prosecuted and their investigation is underway," the ministry said.
The statement later added: "It is unacceptable for the EU official to talk to Azerbaijan in this way. Azerbaijan accepts only equal relations. Anyone who tries to talk to Azerbaijan in this way will receive an adequate response. We would like to note that this unilateral and double-standard approach could damage the EU's relations with Azerbaijan."
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