YEREVAN, January 15. /ARKA/. Armenia must set “red lines” in relations with Azerbaijan and resolve the issue of air communication with Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), former director of the Armenian Genocide Museum Hayk Demoyan said today.
The presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan Vladimir Putin and Ilham Aliyev and the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, following four-hour talks in Moscow on January 11, signed a joint statement aimed at developing the region and reopening all transport links.
According to Demoyan, the first ‘red line’ is the immediate release of all Armenian prisoners of war and other detainees held in Azerbaijan. ‘If this demand is not met, Armenia must suspend all contacts with Azerbaijan,” Demoyan said at a press conference.
In his words, the second “red line” is the issue of refugees, which should be resolved immediately after the return of POWs.
And the third “red line” is Azerbaijan’s readiness to abandon militant rhetoric. If Azerbaijan continues the anti-Armenian and bellicose statements, then Armenia has the right not to cooperate with it,’ according to Demoyan.
He also said that when the airport in Stepanakert begins operating, daily flights from Yerevan to Stepanakert and from Goris to Stepanakert must be operated.
“It is important that Armenia, apart from ground communication with Artsakh, has also air communication,” Demoyan said.
On December 14, the first 44 Armenian prisoners of war and other captivates were brought home by a Russian military plane from Azerbaijan and 12 Azerbaijani citizens were flown to Baku.Armenia and Azerbaijan earlier agreed to “all for all” swap of POWs. The exact data on the number of Armenians captives or soldiers gone missing during the war in Artsakh is not known.
On December 28 four more Armenian prisoners of war were repatriated with the mediation of Russia and the International Committee of the Red Cross. According to Armenian representative to the ECHR, dozens of other Armenian POWs remain in Azerbaijani captivity, including 62 Armenian soldiers who were taken prisoner in early December when Azerbaijani forces seized the last two Armenian-controlled villages in Karabakh’s Hadrut district occupied by them during the six-week war.
According to lawyer Siranush Sahakyan, who deals with their release, at leats 120 Armenian citizens are held as captives in Azerbaijan.
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.