By Ayya Lmahamad
Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has said the problem of POWs between Azerbaijan and Armenia has been resolved and the subject is closed, local news sources have reported.
He made the remarks at a joint press conference with OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) Secretary-General Yousef Bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen held in Baku on April 8.
"To call a person a prisoner of war, military operations must take place, otherwise they must be called terrorists. We informed international organizations about this, stressing that these actions pose a serious threat to security in the region, and noted the need to exert serious pressure on Armenia in this regard," Bayramov said.
The minister said that Azerbaijan "demonstrated its responsible position" after the November 10 Karabakh peace deal.
"After this, Azerbaijan handed over more than 70 prisoners of war to Armenia, and Armenia returned 12 prisoners of war. The issue raised by Armenia currently arose about a month after November 10. As a result of provocations and the deployment of Armenian servicemen in the territories controlled by the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan in accordance with the agreement of November 10, four Azerbaijani servicemen were killed and one civilian was injured," he said.
The minister underlined that as a result of the operation carried out by Azerbaijan, this group of Armenian military forces was neutralized and 62 people were detained. Bayramov added that it was established that these people were deployed on Azerbaijan’s territory on November 26, and all of them were from Armenia’s Shirak region.
Bayramov added that through mining Azerbaijan's liberated territories, Armenia also constituted a serious threat to human lives and described Yerevan's failure to provide maps as a war crime.
“Over the past few months, Azerbaijan has taken systemic steps in this sphere and appealed to the international organizations. Moreover, civil society is also active in this sphere in Azerbaijan. A campaign is being carried out to collect signatures. Azerbaijan will not allow Armenia to divert the attention of the world community from this issue,” the minister said.
Bayramov underlined that the Armenian Foreign Ministry continues to make provocative, deconstructive and revanchist statements. He noted that however, Azerbaijan is ready to establish a new format of cooperation in the region.
He emphasized that Azerbaijani will retaliate adequately in case of any further provocations on its territory.
Speaking about the country's relations with the OIC, the minister highly evaluated them. He emphasized active cooperation with the organization in many areas, including economic, scientific and cultural, youth, labour and others.
The meeting also discussed the OIC's constant support for Azerbaijan’s fair position, based on international law, and adopted resolutions in support of Azerbaijan’s position in the conflict.
Talking about the visit of OIC ambassadors to Aghdam region and Ganja cities, Bayramov noted that they had witnessed the Armenian-committed crimes against Azerbaijan.
Moreover, Bayramov stated that the signing of the trilateral statement on the ceasefire and cessation of all hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh region contributed to the emergence of a new format of regional security and development.
Noting the awareness of the devastations in Azerbaijan’s liberated lands, the secretary-general underlined the importance of protection of historical monuments and places of worship.
Stating that Azerbaijan has always been an example of tolerance, he expressed confidence that the country will be a shining example of how life and coexistence here will be restored as a result of the reconstruction on the liberated territories.
It was noted that the OIC Islamic Development Bank as well as other institutions would be involved in the reconstruction and rehabilitation process.
Additionally, the minister congratulated the secretary-general on being awarded the Dostlug order by the Azerbaijani president.
OIC is the second-largest organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and was established in September 1969. Azerbaijan joined the organization in 1992.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz