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 Tuesday, June 15 2021 13:38
Naira Badalian

RA former Deputy Defense Minister: "Velvet Power" exchanged POWs for  minefields maps for pre- election PR 

RA former Deputy Defense Minister: "Velvet Power" exchanged POWs for  minefields maps for pre- election PR 

ArmInfo. Member of the "I the Have Honor" pre-election bloc, former Deputy Minister of Defense of Armenia Artak Zakaryan is convinced that Yerevan could return POWs  from Baku on exchange for minefield maps 5-6 months ago, but held  this opportunity in order to use it for pre-election PR.

According to Zakaryan, negotiations on the transfer of maps of  minefields to the Azerbaijani side have been under way for a long  time. Yerevan several times refused to transfer and the process was  dragged out specifically in order to do it right before the  elections, and to "throw dust in the eyes of the public."

The maps themselves, as the former deputy minister of defense said,  are of strategic importance for the enemy. "Precisely the presence of  mined territories not only on the sections of the  Karabakh-Azerbaijani contact line, but also in the deep rear of  Azerbaijan, for a long time did not allow Baku to start military  operations," he explained.

On June 12, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry reported that the  Azerbaijani side handed over 15 Armenian POWs to Armenia in exchange  for providing Armenia with maps of minefields, where the location of  97,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines in the Aghdam region was  recorded. The exchange was held at the Azerbaijani-Georgian border  with the participation of representatives of Georgia. "Obtaining mine  maps will save the lives and health of tens of thousands of our  citizens, including demining specialists, and accelerate  reconstruction projects initiated by President of the Republic of  Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, in Aghdam and the return of internally  displaced persons," the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in a  statement.

Immediately after this statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the information was confirmed by  acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and published the names of the  returned Armenians. According to him, Armenia handed over to  Azerbaijan only a small part of the minefield maps, which are at the  disposal of Yerevan. "We handed over maps of minefields, but this is  a small part of those that we have. I cannot say that it is not  significant, but small," Pashinyan said. He added that the exchange  of maps of minefields has been carried out since December 2020, then  it was about minefields that, following the results of the last war,  remained in the depths of the territory of Azerbaijan.  "We will  continue the process of returning our POWs. I would like to note that  we did not exchange POWs for minefield maps, but responded with a  constructive step by Azerbaijan," Pashinyan said.

It is worth noting that more than two hundred Armenian prisoners of  war and civilians continue to be illegally held in Azerbaijani  captivity. According to clause 8 of the tripartite statement of the  leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia of November 9, 2020, all  prisoners of war were to be released immediately and without  preconditions. Meanwhile, against the background of the inaction of  the international community, Azerbaijan continues to speculate on  these issues and receive dividends.


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