EU raises PoWs' return on Karabakh war anniversary

EU raises PoWs' return on Karabakh war anniversary

PanARMENIAN.Net - The European Union has called for the release of "all remaining" prisoners of war, one year after the end of hostilities unleashed by Azerbaijan against the Armenians of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) in fall 2020.

Armenia has returned all the Azerbaijani PoWs to Baku, as stipulated for by the trilateral statement signed by Yerevan, Moscow and Baku on November 9, 2020. Azerbaijan is still holding dozens of PoWs and civilian captives hostage.

In a statement published on Wednesday, November 10, lead spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy Peter Stano said while hostilities have ceased, many pending issues still need to be addressed in order to move towards a negotiated, comprehensive and sustainable settlement.

"We call in particular for the strict respect for the ceasefire, the immediate release of all remaining prisoners, full cooperation on demining, and the de-escalation of tensions in border areas," Stano said.

"The EU remains committed to promoting a peaceful and prosperous South Caucasus and it is actively engaged contributing to peace-building and post conflict rehabilitation. It has played an important role in the release of prisoners and the handing-over of minefield maps. The EU has also supported people affected by the conflict with more than €17 million in humanitarian assistance, including for demining and early recovery. The EU is also ready to support border de-escalation and delimitation by providing technical assistance, as needed by the sides, and encourages connectivity and the reopening of economic cooperation in the South Caucasus."

Stano said a comprehensive settlement is necessary to put an end to more than three decades of conflict and suffering. To achieve this goal, he added, the EU will continue to be in active contact with relevant international partners, particularly the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and "fully supports them in carrying out their mandate by working with Armenia and Azerbaijan on a comprehensive solution to all outstanding issues."

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Russian and Azerbaijani Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev on November 9, 2020 signed a statement to end the war in Karabakh after almost 45 days. Under the deal, the Armenian side returned all the seven regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, having lost a part of Karabakh itself in hostilities.

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