By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva has called on France and Canada to urge Armenia to observe its international obligations and refrain from acts undermining regional peace, the ministry reported on May 7.
Abdullayeva made the remarks in response to statements from the Canadian and French foreign ministries welcoming the release of three Armenian detainees and calling for other detainees' release.
"If France and Canada want to demonstrate not a one-sided, but objective approach to the issue, then they will call Armenia for observing its obligations under international humanitarian law and refraining from activities and actions that impede lasting peace in the region. Otherwise, this will seriously damage confidence in both countries in Azerbaijani society," she said.
Abdullayeva said that Armenia still continues not to fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law and the Karabakh peace deal.
"We bring to the attention of both countries' foreign ministries that Armenia still does not fulfill its obligations under international humanitarian law, as well as its obligations under tripartite statements [signed in November 2020 and January 2021]. Probably, both countries have information that Armenia has not yet provided information on about 4,000 Azerbaijanis who went missing during the 1991-94 war and refused to provide maps of landmines buried in the liberated areas," Abdullayeva said.
The spokesperson reminded that the release of the aforesaid detainees is not the first humane step by Azerbaijan and stressed that the country handed over Armenian prisoners even during the hostilities in autumn 2020.
"After the cessation of hostilities, more than 70 Armenian prisoners were returned to the opposite side. In exchange for this, Armenia struck a blow to the fragile peace achieved with great difficulty and sent its troops into Azerbaijan almost 20 days after the cessation of operations," she said.
Abdullayeva stressed that four Azerbaijani servicemen were killed and a civilian wounded in a terror attack committed by those Armenian servicemen.
It should be noted that earlier US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a similar welcoming statement on his official Twitter account, calling on "both parties to fully and expeditiously complete the exchange process for all prisoners, detainees, and remains, and to respect their obligations to ensure the humane treatment of detainees".
The hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia resumed after that latter started firing at Azerbaijani civilians and military positions starting September 27, 2020. The war ended on November 10 with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani Army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centres and historic Shusha city. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
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