Earlier today (7 February), Azerbaijan handed eight detainees back to Armenia. Most of them are understood to have been in Azerbaijani custody since incidents in Kalbajar on 16 November 2021, after the ceasefire that ended the 44-day war between the two countries had come into force.
In response to this latest handover of detainees, Armenia is thought to be providing Azerbaijan with information on Azerbaijani servicemen and civilians killed during in the first Armenian-Azerbaijan war, as well as the location of their graves. This agreement was reportedly reached during last Friday’s online meeting between the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, and the Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev, which was mediated by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the president of the European Council, Charles Michel.
Michel tweeted about the event, saying that the release of and repatriation of the detainees was “another sign of positive development following the meeting Macron, Aliyev and Pashinyan”, adding that the EU supported stability and prosperity in the region.
Macron also tweeted, confirmed that France had sent a plane to pick up the servicemen, and thanking “our diplomats as well as our soldiers who were mobilised for this operation”.
The Armenian government confirmed the identities of the servicemen as: Sargis Tarzyan; Vardges Balayan; Armen Petrosyan; Arthur Babayan; Hmayak Sargsyan; Gurgen Galoyan; Grigor Kyureghyan; and Vagharshak Maloyan.