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Nagorny-Karabakh conflict:10 detainees released under the ICRC auspices

05-04-1997 News Release 97/09

ICRC (Geneva) - Ten detainees were released today under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in an operation carried out by the ICRC delegations of Yerevan (Armenia) and Baku (Azerbaijan).

The four detainees from Azerbaijan, who had been regularly visited by ICRC delegates, were released unilaterally by the Armenian authorities and repatriated to Baku. Six other detainees from Armenia, who had also received ICRC visits, were freed by the Azeri authorities and returned to Yerevan.

The releases followed on a proposal made by the three co-chairmen of the " Minsk Group " of the OSCE, the United States, the Russian Federation and France. The authorities of Nagorny-Karabakh, for their part, have not yet followed up on the " Minsk Group's " proposal.

The ICRC encourages the Azerbaijani authorities to carry out further releases in the coming days, and invites the Nagorny-Karabakh authorities to give a favourable consideration to the " Minsk Group's " proposal.

The ICRC is pleased that these liberations have allowed ten people to return to freedom. Nevertheless, the ICRC has appealed to all the authorities concerned to release all those captured and still being held in relation with the Nagorny-Karabakh conflict.

The ICRC also reminds all the parties concerned that it was vital to set up a process to ascertain the whereabouts of missing persons and thus put an end to their families'anxiety. Any association between the issue of detainees and that of mising persons must, however, be avoided.