YEREVAN, March 10, /ARKA/ During a meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian, US Ambassador to Armenia Lynne Tracy underscored U.S. support for democratic institutions and processes and stressed the U.S. commitment to engaging towards a lasting political solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Ambassador called also for the safe return of detainees, according to the official Twitter of the US Embassy in Armenia.
During a telephone conversation last week with U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called his interlocutor’s attention to the need for Azerbaijan to immediately return the prisoners of war, hostages and people held in captivity.
In this context, the U.S. side highlighted the Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ activities and voiced readiness to continue its role in resolving the conflict.
So far, 69 Armenians, both civilians and soldiers, and 16 Azerbaijanis have been repatriated from both countries as part of exchanges between the two sides.
Armenia and Azerbaijan earlier agreed to “all for all” swap of POWs. However, more than two months after the fighting stopped, Azerbaijan still holds unknown dozens of Armenian prisoners of war.
The Armenian authorities decline demands to disclose the exact number of Armenian prisoners held in Azerbaijan on the grounds that it is a state secret.
However, according to various sources, there are more than 140 names on the Armenian exchange list. The European Court of Human Rights said it has received requests concerning 228 Armenians held in Azerbaijani captivity.
On September 27, 2020, Azerbaijani armed forces, backed by Turkey and foreign mercenaries and terrorists, attacked Nagorno-Karabakh along the entire front line using rocket and artillery weapons, heavy armored vehicles, military aircraft and prohibited types of weapons such as cluster bombs and phosphorus weapons.
After 44 days of the war, on November 9, the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a statement on the cessation of all hostilities. According to the document, the parties stopped at where they were at that time. The town of Shushi, the districts of Agdam, Kelbajar and Lachin were handed over to Azerbaijan, with the exception of a 5-kilometer corridor connecting Karabakh with Armenia.
A Russian peacekeeping contingent was deployed along the contact line in Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor. Internally displaced persons and refugees are returning to Karabakh and adjacent regions, prisoners of war, hostages and other detained persons and bodies of the dead are being exchanged.–0-