President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Director General of International Commission on Missing Persons Kathryne Bomberger.
The head of state noted that 3,890 Azerbaijanis had been missing since the first Armenia-Azerbaijan war, many of whom had been tortured, killed and buried in mass graves by Armenia. President Ilham Aliyev said that although Azerbaijan had repeatedly appealed to Armenia over this humanitarian issue, Armenia had failed to demonstrate constructive cooperation and goodwill.
The head of state noted that one such mass grave had recently been identified in the Edilli village of Khojavand, and that the remains of those buried there had been discovered during excavations and submitted to DNA analysis laboratories.
President Ilham Aliyev stressed that the issue of missing persons was always on the agenda of the state and was also being discussed with the European Union and other international institutions.
Noting that Azerbaijan had expanded its technical capabilities in this field, the head of state noted that new modular laboratories had been set up in the country, special drones and other equipment had been purchased and the professional skills of the specialists involved had been enhanced. The President hailed the importance of the experience and capabilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons for Azerbaijan, noting that the Commission had been successfully operating in various countries around the world.
Kathryne Bomberger expressed her readiness to work closely with Azerbaijan to determine the fate of missing persons. She noted that the organization had operated on a large scale in various countries around the world, including the Western Balkans, and had played a role in informing the families of thousands of missing people and determining their fate.
Underlining the importance of collecting DNA samples and identifying people through laboratory tests, Kathryne Bomberger said she was ready to contribute to the creation of a database of missing persons in Azerbaijan, joint excavations in mass graves and professional development of local specialists. She added that determining the fate of missing persons was important in terms of building trust and ensuring lasting peace.
The Director General of International Commission on Missing Persons said that a number of meetings would be held as part of the visit and a letter of intent on cooperation with the State Commission of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons would be signed and put into practice.
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