Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan told reporters on Thursday, January 28 that the Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) conflict has not been resolved as Armenian prisoners of war are still being held captive in Azerbaijan.
“The Nagorno Karabakh conflict has not been resolved,” Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan told reporters on Thursday, January 28.
“In order to be able to speak about stability, security and peace in the region, we must first create an atmosphere of trust, which will be possible, first of all, after the release of our prisoners of war. I think Azerbaijan should understand that this is a humanitarian issue, and if this issue is further manipulated, the situation will become problematic for Azerbaijan,” Ayvazyan stated.
A day before, Ayvazyan held a telephone conversation with Russian FM Sergey Lavrov, during which he emphasized the priority of urgent and safe return of Armenian POWs and other detainees kept in Azerbaijan.
According to the Moscow-brokered trilateral peace truce signed, which ended the 2020 Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) war on November 9, prisoners of war, as well as other detained persons, should be immediately released and returned. After more than two months of the truce, Armenian PoWs, captured during and after the war, have been kept by Azerbaijan.
The European Court of Human Rights urged Azerbaijani authorities to provide information about the Armenian captives and have not received any information to this date. Earlier, a stream of videos depicting Armenian PoWs tortured and killed by Azerbaijani forces had been circulated through social media channels.
Ayvazyan continued, stating that the clarification of the status of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), which has been discussed by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, is still a key issue. He added that the co-chairs’ upcoming regional visit is expected.
According to Ayvazyan, there is an interdepartmental working group that is working on a daily basis on the return of POWs.
The first batch of 44 Armenian POWs returned from Azerbaijan in mid-December, although Armenian officials said many more people were being held in Baku. Dozens of others, both servicemen and civilians, have been captured after the completion of military hostilities. Azerbaijani President Aliyev has said in one of his speeches that the newly detained persons are not prisoners of war but “terrorists”.
Human rights lawyer Siranush Sahakyan has said, meanwhile, that at least 120 Armenian prisoners of war are being held in Azerbaijan. Sahakyan represents the rights of some of the Karabakh POWs before the European Court of Human Rights. The lawyer said there is enough evidence proving the capture of said persons, which the Armenian side will submit to international agencies and courts.