YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 16, ARMENPRESS. The return of prisoners of war is a humanitarian issue which has to be settled under full respect of international humanitarian law, Ambassador of Germany to Armenia Michael Johannes Banzhaf said in an exclusive interview to ARMENPRESS, commenting on the observation according to which Azerbaijan is artificially delaying the process of the return of Armenian POWs.
– In the aftermath of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan against Artsakh, which lasted from September 27 to November 10, the issue of the status of Artsakh is not clarified yet. How does Germany consider the settlement of the issue of the status of Artsakh? What’s Germany’s comment on the statements claiming that Nagorno Karabakh conflict is solved?
– Germany fully shares the view that the cessation of hostilities is only a first step to end the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Efforts must be renewed for a negotiated, peaceful, comprehensive and sustainable settlement of the conflict, including on the status of NK. Germany fully supports the OSCE Minsk Group led by its Co-Chairs to find a long-lasting solution.
– The statement signed by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia on the cessation of hostilities referred to the issue of the return of prisoners of war and captured civilians as well. Both conflicting sides have stated that the exchange will be carried out on the “all for all” principle, however, Azerbaijan is artificially delaying the return of prisoners of war. What kind of steps can the international community undertake to urgently resolve this issue?
– The international community should recall that the return of prisoners of war is a humanitarian issue which has to be settled under full respect of international humanitarian law. I do hope that further progress will be made in the next future. My sympathy is with all families waiting with growing impatience to embrace their beloved ones.
– As a result of the war unleashed by Azerbaijan, the people of Artsakh encountered serious humanitarian issues, many civilian infrastructures were destroyed, and prohibited weapons were used, putting the region on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. What kind of steps should the international community undertake, including Germany, to relieve the humanitarian issues of the civilians of Artsakh?
– Providing humanitarian aid to all those who suffered from the recent military hostilities is high on the agenda of the international donor community. Germany for its part is supporting the International Committee of the Red Cross. Germany is also supporting the cooperation of the German Red Cross with the Armenian Red Cross in this regard. The problem of access to Nagorno Karabakh is still unsolved and so humanitarian aid prevented from unfolding its full effect. A speedy settlement of this issue is urgently needed.