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Azerbaijan Hands Over Karabakh Defector To Separatist Side

Azerbaijan has handed over to its breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region a separatist fighter who defected earlier this year to the Azerbaijani side.

Nagorno-Karabakh officials say that Private Andranik Grigorian was handed over with the Red Cross Committee's assistance on November 18.

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry said earlier that the 24-year-old Grigorian crossed into Azerbaijani-controlled territory in March and defected, citing the drastic economic situation in the separatist-controlled region.

Baku and Yerevan have been locked in conflict over Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh for a quarter-century.

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

International diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict have brought little progress.

Based on reporting by Interfax and