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Paris vows to aid Baku to identify Azerbaijanis missing in first Karabakh war

9 February 2022 13:07 (UTC+04:00)
Paris vows to aid Baku to identify Azerbaijanis missing in first Karabakh war

By Vugar Khalilov

Paris has promised to assist Baku in identifying Azerbaijanis who went missing during the first Karabakh war with Armenia in the early 1990s.

The French embassy in Azerbaijan stated on its website on February 8: "Like last year, France will continue to work in 2022 with the parties, particularly Azerbaijan, to help identify missing persons, with the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross."

The remarks were made by the French embassy in response to Baku's transfer of eight Armenian servicemen to Yerevan.

According to the embassy, the event represents a step toward peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

It stated that Azerbaijan's return of eight Armenian detainees on a French government plane on February 7 was "good news in the context of Europe's tense security situation today".

The embassy emphasized that as a sign of goodwill, this gesture will allow the two countries to move closer to peace.

It was emphasized that the release of the Armenian detainees was the result of dialogue, diplomacy, and de-escalation efforts, particularly the February 4 videoconference between Azerbaijani President Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan, with the support of French President Emmanuel Macron and EU Council President Charles Michel.

The French embassy emphasized that France appreciates Azerbaijan's kind gesture in releasing the Armenian servicemen.

The embassy described the return of detainees as a "timely" and "necessary" step in the two countries' transition from war to "post-conflict," and from "post-conflict" to "peace talks." It emphasized that peace-building measures such as reducing border tensions, delimiting and demarcating borders, and opening communication lines between Azerbaijan and Armenia necessitate strong political will.

“The transition to a peace process will involve other advances in the humanitarian field. After decades of conflict, there is a real need to restore trust and alleviate the suffering of families, especially by allowing detainees to be reunited with their loved ones, identify the remains of the missing, provide assistance to mine victims and ensure mine clearance,” the statement said.

Therefore, France has offered to cooperate with Azerbaijan’s Mince Action Agency (ANAMA) in the field of demining and assistance to mine victims.

The European Union, which emerged from the peace project and has extensive and significant experience in border management and regional development, is also ready to accompany Azerbaijan and Armenia, the embassy underlined.

“It is time to abandon nationalist rhetoric and historical disputes. The involvement of all people of goodwill, old and young, will be necessary to resolutely embark on the path of peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia," the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, the delegation of the French media structure ERE TV traveled to Azerbaijan’s liberated territories as a part of their visit to the country, Trend reported on February 8.

"French journalists visiting the liberated territories - the city of Shusha, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil regions, had the opportunity to see with their own eyes the destruction committed by the Armenians during the occupation, as well as the large-scale construction work being carried out today by our state. They also observed mine clearance operations, carried out by ANAMA officers in the liberated territories" Azerbaijani MP, head of the working group on Azerbaijan-France inter-parliamentary relations, Soltan Mammadov said.

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