Politics 18:44 04/05/2021 Region

Over 120 MEPs urge EU leaders to demand release of Armenian POWs held by Azerbaijan

More than 120 members of European Parliament (MEPs) addressed a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel urging them to demand the release of 200 Armenian prisoners of war (POWs) held by Azerbaijan.

The letter was initiated by Andrey Kovatchev, Loucas Fourlas and François-Xavier Bellamy and signed by 119 other MEPs.

“The trilateral ceasefire statement, which entered into force on l 0 November 2020 following the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, deals in paragraph 8 with the situation of prisoners of war. It provides that "exchange of prisoners of war, hostages and other detainees as well as the remains of the fatalities shall be carried out". It was agreed by the parties concerned that the return of captives would be carried out on the principle of "all in exchange for all".

“Armenia promptly released all prisoners of war it held. This is not the case with Azerbaijan: not only does it still hold Armenian prisoners, but it is also suspected of having made new prisoners, including civilians, after the official end of hostilities. It is difficult to precisely draw up the number of remaining prisoners and captives, due to the high number of missing persons and the lack of cooperation from the Azerbaijani side, but it would include 72 people whose captivity Azerbaijan admits, 112 people about whom Azerbaijan did not provide any information, and 61 people whose captivity Azerbaijan categorically denies, but about whom there is concrete evidence to the contrary,” the MEPs wrote.

They called attention to the fact that Azerbaijan tried to justify the detention of Armenian nationals, pretending they would be "terrorists", however no single proof has ever been provided on this point.

“Not only is the attitude of Azerbaijan a gross violation of humanitarian law but also in deep contradiction with its claims to move to normalisation and reconciliation.

“The European Union can no longer leave Armenia in this unbearable situation; we must act so that violence does not once again take precedence over the Jaw. We are proud of the principles that bind us together: they must urge us today to bring all our weight, and use all levers at our disposal, to demand that Azerbaijan purely and solely respect international law. If Europe wishes to fulfill its commitments, it must ensure that this violation of international law in its neighborhood does not become a tragic precedent. Otherwise, its silence and inaction will turn into historical responsibility.

“As Members of the European Parliament, we ask you to act to demand the return of all Armenian prisoners of war to their country,” the letter reads. 



Source Panorama.am
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