Baku Denies Man Captured By Separatists Is Azerbaijani Soldier

Azerbaijan has denied a statement by separatist authorities in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region that a man captured by separatist forces is an Azerbaijani soldier.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said on February 2 that Elnur Huseynzade, who was detained by Nagorno-Karabakh forces on February 1, is not an Azerbaijani Army soldier.

The ministry's statement said that Huseynzade had been discharged from the army for "systematic violations of army discipline."

It also said that there were no military operations on February 1 along the line of contact separating government-controlled territory from territory held by the ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The separatist military said on February 2 that Huseynzade was armed and in military uniform when he was captured during an operation against what it called an Azerbaijani "saboteur group" on February 1.

Armenia-backed separatists seized control of mainly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh during a war in the early 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.

Diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict have brought little progress.

With reporting by Interfax