Azerbaijan releases 32 Armenians, most of whom have been held since 2020, in change for 2 troopers held since April.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have traded prisoners of conflict at their border in a step in direction of normalising their relations three months after Azerbaijan achieved a decisive breakthrough of their decades-old battle.
The change occurred on Wednesday with Azerbaijan releasing 32 Armenians largely captured in late 2020 whereas Armenia launched two Azerbaijani troopers held since April.
“Thirty-one personnel from Armenia’s armed forces captured in 2020-2023 and one serviceman captured in Nagorno-Karabakh in September have crossed the Azerbaijani-Armenian border and are on Armenian territory,” Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan wrote on his Fb account.
Azerbaijan’s state fee for prisoners of conflict additionally launched a press release concerning the swap.
“Armenian troopers have been handed to Armenia after the Worldwide Committee of the Purple Cross examined their well being and made a constructive conclusion,” it stated.
The 2 neighbours are additionally discussing the withdrawal of troops from their border, in keeping with the Russian state information company TASS.
The nations stated final week as they announced the prisoner exchange that they “reconfirm their intention to normalise relations and to achieve a peace treaty on the premise of respect for the ideas of sovereignty and territorial integrity”.
In November, Yerevan stated a complete of 55 Armenian prisoners of conflict have been being held by Baku, together with six civilians, 41 troopers and eight separatist leaders who have been arrested within the wake of Baku’s army operation in September, which recaptured the Nagorno-Karabakh area.
The South Caucasus neighbours have fought two wars previously 30 years over mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan the place ethnic Armenians broke away and established de facto independence within the Nineties.
After Azerbaijan recaptured the territory, most of its 120,000 ethnic Armenians fled to Armenia.
The prisoner change settlement was welcomed by the European Union and the USA, who’ve been making an attempt to steer the 2 nations to signal a peace treaty for years.
Western mediation has stepped up after Russian affect within the area has dipped previously two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Each Armenia and Azerbaijan have been a part of the previous Soviet Union.