Azerbaijan is holding more than a hundred citizens of Armenia, and the delay in resolving the matter hinders the launch of a dialogue between Yerevan and Baku, Armenia’s HIgh Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs Zareh Sinanyan said in an interview with RIA Novosti.
Sinanyan noted that during his visit to Russia between February 24 and March 2, he discussed the issue with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko.
"The most important topic for us is the return of Armenian prisoners of war and detainees from Azerbaijan. I discussed the issue at a meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry as well," Sinanyan was quoted as saying on Wednesday, March 3.
"I know there are more than a hundred of them, but I don't have a specific figure. And therefore we are holding talks, because we too want to find out how many people are in Azerbaijani captivity, they (Baku - Ed.) know this better."
According to him, Yerevan hopes that Moscow will continue contributing to the settlement of the matter.
Several dozen 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 Ilham Aliyev has said that persons being kept in Baku are not prisoners of war but “terrorists and saboteurs”. 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.