By Vugar Khalilov
Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and US State Secretary Assistant for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried have discussed steps to normalize post-war Azerbaijan-Armenia relations, the Foreign Ministry has reported.
In a phone conversation on December 6, the two senior officials also focused on the latest developments in the region.
Donfried described Azerbaijan's transfer of 10 Armenian servicemen to Armenia, as well as Armenia's submission of mine maps to Azerbaijan, as positive development and progress towards normalizing ties.
The sides also discussed some of the items on the bilateral cooperation agenda, as well as other issues of mutual interest.
Yerevan submitted to Baku all mine maps of Azerbaijan's liberated territories as a result of talks on December 4, 2021, the State Security Service reported earlier
"As a result of the negotiations, Armenia provided Azerbaijan with mine maps of other liberated territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan... The State Security Service expresses gratitude to the Russian Defence Ministry for the intermediary mission in receiving maps of minefields," the service stated on its website.
It stressed that Azerbaijan "guided by the principles of humanism transferred 10 servicemen of Armenian origin to the Armenian side".
The persons handed over to Armenia were detained on November 16, 2021, when Azerbaijan thwarted the provocation of the Armenian armed forces in the direction of Kalbajar on the state border, the report added.
"It should be noted that the Republic of Azerbaijan, committed to the principles of humanism, earlier, on November 26, 2021, ensured the extradition of a civilian and a soldier of Armenian origin to Armenia," the State Security Service said.
Armenia deliberately and constantly planted mines on Azerbaijani territories, in violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, thereby being a major threat to regional peace, security, and cooperation.
Since the 44-day second Karabakh war ended in November 2020, about 180 Azerbaijani citizens have been killed or seriously wounded by landmines. Out of the civilians, 49 have been wounded, and 24 sadly died.
On June 12, Azerbaijan handed over 15 Armenian prisoners in exchange for a map detailing the location of 97,000 mines in Aghdam.
On July 3, Armenia submitted to Azerbaijan maps of about 92,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines planted during the occupation of Fuzuli and Zangilan regions.
In his interview to CNN Turk channel on August 14, President Ilham Aliyev said that the accuracy of the maps provided by Armenia at the latest stage is only 25 percent.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Russia-brokered peace agreement on November 10, 2020, to end 44 days of fighting and work toward a comprehensive resolution.
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