Another mass grave of Azerbaijanis who died in the First Karabakh War is a stark reminder of why conflict with Armenia continues despite Azerbaijan’s territorial gains of two years ago. However, diplomatic efforts to find a peaceful solution continue, says Nick Powell, Political Editor.
Turkey’s Andolu news media filmed this week the remains of 12 soldiers who were buried in one place in Azerbaijan, the village of Edilli, in the Karabakh region. The skulls were pierced with bullet holes, indicating that they were shot. They had tied their hands and feet.
Namig Efendiyev, an official of Azerbaijan’s State Commission for Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons, stated that excavations had been ongoing in the village since February in order to locate people who disappeared during the First Karabakh War, which ended 1994. Excavations will continue to uncover the remains of 25 more.
Hikmat Hajiyev (head of Azerbaijani’s foreign policy) stated that Edilli was used as a concentration camp by Armenia for Azerbaijani hostages in the First Karabakh War. Hikmat Hajiyev stated that, despite the discovery in the village of a mass grave, another 4,000 soldiers or civilians are still missing. Armenia has refused to give the exact locations.
Although Armenia had occupied large swathes of the region in 1991, it was still internationally recognized as being part of Azerbaijan. The country regained much of the area during the Second Karabakh War in autumn 2020. The conflict was ended by a Russian-brokered ceasefire, but there have been more clashes this year with both the European Union (EU) and the United Stares trying to mediate.
On Sunday, Armenian and Azerbaijan’s foreign ministers met in Geneva to discuss the possibility of a future peace agreement. According to estimates, the conflict of the 1990s resulted in 30,000 deaths and another 6,500 in 2020.
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