The European Union (EU) and MEP Marina Kaljurand have thanked Georgia for its facilitation efforts to release 15 Armenian citizens who were captured last year by Azerbaijan during hostilities over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated on June 12 that the Armenian citizens were released through his involvement and that of the US.
Azerbaijan says that the detainees were released in exchange for maps with the locations of 97,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines in the Aghdam region.
I welcome yesterday's release by Azerbaijan of 15 Armenian detainees, as well as the handing over by Armenia of maps of mines in the Agdam region. Thank you to Georgia for facilitating these important steps. I encourage both sides to continue on this path. https://t.co/6pGlRjHPSS— Marina Kaljurand MEP (@MarinaKaljurand) June 13, 2021
The EU says that ‘these are important humanitarian and confidence building gestures by Baku and Yerevan that will hopefully open the path for further cooperation between the sides and the ultimate release of all Armenian detainees, as well as the handing over of all available maps of mined areas to avoid further civilian casualties.’
Proud of the role????????played in close coordination w/our strategic partner ???????? & Acting Assistant Sec Reeker to facilitate ????????'s release of 15????????citizens detained during the conflict. ????????providing????????info about mined territories is an important step toward improved security in our region. https://t.co/ncizGfTO90— Irakli Garibashvili (@GharibashviliGe) June 12, 2021
The EU has urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to continue cooperation.
Fighting broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia in September 2020 over Nagorno-Karabakh which claimed around 6,000 lives over six weeks.
The war ended in November with a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement under which Yerevan ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades.