Russian foreign ministry stresses importance of unconditional and quick return of POWs and detainees

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YEREVAN, June 10. /ARKA/. The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova stressed today the importance of returning of Armenian prisoners of war and other detainees held in Azerbaijan as quickly as possible and without preconditions.

Speaking at a press briefing she said that Russia believes that all issues that have a humanitarian dimension, including the return of prisoners of war, other detained persons, bodies of the dead, clarification of the fate of the missing and much more, must be resolved in strict accordance with the statements of the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan of November 9 2020 and January 11, 2021. She added that all this must be done as quickly as possible and without any preconditions.

Zakharova stressed that in regular contacts with Yerevan and Baku, including at the highest and high levels, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls for the establishment of cooperation on demining issues, including the exchange of information on minefields.

“By the way, this issue was discussed during the visits of the Russian Foreign Minister to Yerevan and Baku in the first ten days of May. We expect this process to be accelerated,” she said.

Zakharova noted that the problem of demining territories is one of the most dangerous and intractable consequences of any armed conflict. According to her, Russia is making a significant contribution to the process of post-conflict demining in Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent regions.

“Since November 23, 2020, the Russian peacekeeping contingent have discovered about 26 thousand explosive objects, have cleared more than 2 thousand hectares of minefields and checked almost 2 thousand buildings and 650 km of roads. Similar measures are being taken by the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. This year, in agreement with the Azerbaijani side, Russian specialists examined more than 550 hectares and neutralized about 18 thousand explosives in the Agdam region, and also trained a group of sappers from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Emergency Situations,” she said.

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