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Tuesday June 28 2022

Armenia not thrilled about detainees' return from Azerbaijan

10 February 2022 10:00 (UTC+04:00)
Armenia not thrilled about detainees' return from Azerbaijan

By Sabina Mammadli

The eight Armenian servicemen handed over by Azerbaijan back home on February 7 were interrogated immediately on the arrival, Baku-based news website Day.az has reported, citing Armenian media.

Parents, relatives, and friends of the detainees were unable to meet them because the Investigative Committee began interrogation immediately. Given the tragic experience of previous returnees from Azerbaijan, some of them will almost certainly be charged with multiple criminal cases – the charges against those returning from captivity are stamped one after the other.

The welcome back home was not so warm, as the interrogation was conducted in a tense atmosphere, with indignant relatives of the servicemen attempting to break the building's windows. Six of them were released after the interrogation, and two were led to the recruitment office to resolve the issue of their service.

French ambassador to Armenia Anne Luyo and head of the EU delegation to Armenia Andrea Victorin greeted the returning citizens at the airport. There was no sign of the defence minister, the chief of General Staff, or te chairman of the parliamentary defence and security commission. The Armenian state does not provide all possible assistance to citizens, instead of relying on law enforcement agencies.

After the second Karabakh war, the Armenian army is in a demoralized state. Meanwhile, Armenians are skeptical that their Motherland will go to any length to ensure their safe return.

These are the realities of modern Armenia, where military personnel are used for selfish ends in the service of the state's geopolitical ambitions. When the Karabakh conflict was still unresolved, the Armenian government issued illegal orders and sent soldiers to serve in Azerbaijan's occupied territories.

Following government orders, the Armenian army regularly commits provocations on the state border with Azerbaijan now that the conflict has been resolved. However, after receiving a satisfactory response from the Azerbaijani armed forces, Armenia declares the detained soldiers to be traitors.

All of this is taking place at a time when Armenia is emphasizing the importance of normalizing relations with Azerbaijan and Turkey.

On February 7, Baku handed over back to Yerevan eight Armenian servicemen proceeding from the principle of humanism.

Some of them were the servicemen detained while the Azerbaijani armed forces prevented Armenia’s military provocation on the state border in Kalbajar region on November 16, 2021.

In response to Azerbaijan's humanitarian gesture, Armenia is expected to provide information on Azerbaijani military and civilian citizens who were killed (and most likely buried in mass graves) during the first Karabakh war (1988-1994), as well as the location of their mass graves.

The issue was raised by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at an online meeting organized with the participation of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, French President Emmanuel Macron and President of the European Council Charles Michel on February 7.

At the meeting, Aliyev underlined that Armenia had to provide information about the mass graves of Azerbaijani citizens that went missing during the first Karabakh war.

Aliyev said that 3,890 Azerbaijani citizens, including 71 children, 267 women and 326 elderly people went missing during the first Karabakh war.

On February 8, Azerbaijan urged the international community to put pressure on Armenia to fulfill its obligations regarding the fate of Azerbaijani citizens who went missing during the first Karabakh war (1988-1994).

The ministry stated that Armenia's denial of its international humanitarian obligations, as well as promises made during the videoconference on February 4, is completely outside the moral, ethical, and legal framework in light of Azerbaijan's discovery and return of the bodies of 1,708 Armenian servicemen.

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