BRUSSELS — Members of the European Parliament Andrey Kovatchev (Bulgaria) and Loucas Fourlas (Cyprus) and François-Xavier Bellamy (France) have initiated a letter to Charles Michel, President of the European Council, urging them to demand the release of over 200 Armenian prisoners of war held by Azerbaijan. The letter has been co-signed by 119 other MEPs.

“We ask you to act to demand the return of all Armenian prisoners of war to their country,” they said, in a letter to the heads of the European Commission, European Council and EU diplomatic service.

“It is difficult to precisely draw up the number of remaining prisoners and captives, due to the high number of missing persons and the lack of cooperation from the Azerbaijani side,” the MEPs wrote.

“But it would include 72 people whose captivity Azerbaijan admits, 112 people about whom Azerbaijan did not provide any information, and 61 people whose captivity Azerbaijan categorically denies, but about whom there is concrete evidence to the contrary,” they added.

“Not only is the attitude of Azerbaijan a gross violation of humanitarian law but also in deep contradiction with its claims to move to normalization and reconciliation. It must be stressed that any attempt to link the fate of prisoners and detainees with other requests is unacceptable. Liberation of all prisoners and detainees must be unconditional,” the lawmakers said.

“By demanding the return of all its prisoners and respect for international conventions, Armenia is making a minimum request, in accordance with international law. Azerbaijan cannot shirk its basic legal duties, from the commitments it made itself by adhering to the Geneva Conventions and signing the ceasefire agreement,” the MEPs noted.

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