Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan has said the return of all Armenian prisoners of war and detained civilians has been stressed as a priority during a meeting with European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi on Friday, July 9.
Azerbaijan is refusing to return all Armenian prisoners of war, in violation of the statement on the cessation of hostilities signed by the parties in November 2020. The Armenian side has information about some 200 Armenians still in Azerbaijan’s captivity, but Azeri President Ilham Aliyev claims that persons being kept in Baku are not PoWs, but “terrorists and saboteurs”. At least 19 of the hundreds of Armenian captives have been tortured and killed, according to their lawyers.
Grigoryan said the PoWs must be released immediately and without preconditions, citing the November 9, 2020 trilateral statement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia to end the war in Karabakh.
The acting Deputy PM noted that Armenia is committed to achieving a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group. He added that steps aimed at mitigating the consequences of the large-scale military aggression against Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) were also discussed with the Commissioner.
Grigoryan maintained that despite the challenges, the country "consistently pursues the path of democratic reforms", citing the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the EU, which came into effect earlier in 2021.