Azerbaijan, Armenia exchange bodies of dead servicemen

Baku, Nov 15 : Azerbaijan and Armenia exchanged the bodies of a number of servicemen who were killed during the fighting around the city of Shusha in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, according to the defence authorities here.

An unspecified number of bodies of the Armenian armed forces were handed over on Saturday, while the bodies of six Azerbaijani servicemen were returned, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Russian peacekeeping force stationed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region also took part in the event, Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry said in a statement.

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Meanwhile, the search and retrieval of the conflict victims are underway with the involvement of the Russian peacekeepers and the Red Cross, according to the Defence Ministry of Armenia.

The exchange was organized in accordance with Article 8 of a joint statement signed on November 8 by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, agreeing on a complete ceasefire in the conflict-ridden region.

As agreed, Russia has deployed a peacekeeping contingent consisting of 1,960 servicemen with small arms, 90 armoured personnel carriers, and 380 vehicles to the region.

This is the fourth ceasefire since last month.

The three other ceasefires — two brokered by Russia (October 10, 17) and one by the US (October 26) — collapsed after Armenia and Azerbaijan traded accusations and attacks.

A new round of armed conflict broke out on September 27 along the contact line of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but mostly governed by the Republic of Artsakh, a de facto independent state with an Armenian ethnic majority.

The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, April 2016 and in July this year.

Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over the region in 1988-94, eventually declaring a ceasefire.

However, a settlement was never reached.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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