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U.S. Welcomes Release Of More Armenian POWs


U.K. -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a joint news conference with his British counterpart at Downing Street following their bilateral meeting in London, May 3, 2021

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday praised Azerbaijan for repatriating on Tuesday three Armenian prisoners of war and expressed hope that others will be freed as well.

“The U.S. welcomes Azerbaijan's release of three Armenian detainees,” tweeted Blinken. “We call 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 U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-heading the OSCE Minsk Group also called for “the return of all POWs and other detainees” in a joint statement issued on April 13.

No Azerbaijani POWs or civilians are known to be held in Armenia or Nagorno-Karabakh at present.

Yerevan says that more than 100 Armenians remain in Azerbaijani captivity. It insists on their immediate and unconditional release, citing the terms of a Russian-mediated agreement that halted the Armenian-Azerbaijani war on November 10.

Baku claims that they are not covered by the agreement because they were captured after it took effect on November 10. Azerbaijani officials have branded them as “terrorists.”

The European Union last week called on Azerbaijan to free all remaining Armenian prisoners “as soon as possible” and “regardless of the circumstances of their arrest.”

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