The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has not been resolved, the key issue – the clarification of the status of Artsakh – remains, and it has also been discussed by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian told reporters on Thursday, January 28.
“In order to be able to speak about stability, security and peace in the region, we must first create an atmosphere of trust, which will be possible, first of all, after the release of our prisoners of war. I think Azerbaijan should understand that this is a humanitarian issue, and if this issue is further manipulated, the situation will become problematic for Azerbaijan,” the Foreign minister said.
According to Ayvazyan, there is an interdepartmental working group that is working on a daily basis on the return of POWs.
The Foreign Minister also revealed the Minsk Group co-chairs will be visiting the region.
The first batch of 44 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 in one of his speeches that the newly detained persons are not prisoners of war but “terrorists”. 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.