By Vafa Ismayilova
Heads of the Azerbaijani and Armenian security agencies and border services have discussed a range of issues related to further joint cooperation in tackling several problems between the two countries.
In an official statement posted on the Azerbaijani State Security Service website on January 11, the agency said that Azerbaijani State Security Service Head Ali Nagiyev and his Armenian counterpart Armen Abazyan met in a buffer zone passing through the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic located on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border on January 8, 2021. The two men met in the border settlements of Vorotan and Shurnukh in Armenia’s Syunik province on January 10, 2021. The latest meeting was also attended by Azerbaijani State Border Service Head Elchin Guliyev and his Armenian counterpart.
The statement added that the meetings focused on the joint investigation of incidents taking place on the state borders, security in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region and other territories liberated from occupation, the identification of burial places in war zones, exchange of prisoners, the clarification of the fate of people, who went missing and taken hostage in the First Karabakh and the Patriotic Wars.
At the same time, the talks stressed that the continuous observance of the ceasefire, which was achieved based on the trilateral statement dated November 10, 2020, served the interests and security of the two nations, as well as the Azerbaijani and Armenian communities of Karabakh.
Fourteen Azerbaijani prisoners of war returned to the country on December 14, 2020, as part of the “all-for-all” exchange of prisoners and hostages agreed with Armenia.
The prisoner swap took place in line with the trilateral peace agreement signed on November 10 that stipulates the exchange of prisoners as well as bodies of soldiers following the 44-day war. The exchange was facilitated by Russian peacekeepers that have been deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh under the peace agreement.
The November 10 trilateral agreement signed between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, followed the 44-day war that started with Armenia’s firing at Azerbaijani positions and civilians.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions to Azerbaijan’s control. Before the signing of the agreement, Azerbaijan had liberated around 300 city centres, settlements and villages, including historic Shusha city.
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