EU insists all Armenian detainees must be released – Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli

The release of all Armenian detainees is essential for building confidence and trust and would be an important political gesture, Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality, said at the European Parliament debate on Armenian prisoners of war.

“We welcomed the release of five Armenian detainees on the 29th of January and of three on the 4th of May. We insist that all remaining detainees be released without further delay,” said Helena Dalli, who spoke on behalf of High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell.

“The European Union expects both parties to cooperate not only on the return of detainees, but also on other important humanitarian issues. The recovery and repatriation of remains of the missing should continue. Urgent and decisive steps are needed on the exchange of information necessary for the conduct of humanitarian demining, including the sharing of any available maps of minefields to enable return to areas devastated by conflict. To defuse tensions and allow societies to progress towards normalisation, it is also crucially important to refrain from inflammatory public rhetoric,” she added.

“The European Union has called for accountability for any violation of international humanitarian law. Allegations of torture, ill-treatment or execution of captives and any other war crimes that might have been committed during the recent hostilities must be thoroughly investigated. The European Union stands ready to contribute to international and independent justice mechanisms and to support an independent investigation into such claims,” the Commissioner added.

She noted that the cessation of hostilities and addressing the range of immediate humanitarian issues is only a first step to end the long-lasting Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“Renewed efforts for a negotiated, comprehensive and sustainable settlement are needed. The European Union fully supports the OSCE Minsk Group led by its Co-Chairs. And we stand ready to contribute in the shaping of a durable and comprehensive settlement, including through support for stabilization and confidence-building measures,” Commissioner Dalli said.

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