Aivazyan Discusses Return of POWs, Destruction of Churches with Lavrov

Armenia's Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan (right) meets with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on April 1
Armenia's Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan (right) meets with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on April 1

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan (right) meets with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on April 1

The Russian Foreign Minister also meets with his Azerbaijani counterpart

Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan on Thursday discussed issues surrounding the return of Armenian prisoners of war, as well as Azerbaijan’s destruction of churches in Artsakh when met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.

Aivazyan is in the Russian capital to attend the CIS Council of Foreign Ministers.

According to the Armenia’s Foreign Ministry press service, Aivazyan stressed the need for the immediate repatriation of Armenian POWs being held hostage by Azerbaijan in violation of their obligations under the tripartite statement.

Aivazyan also expressed serious concern over the deliberate targeting of Armenian cultural and religious monuments in the territories under the control of Azerbaijan, emphasizing the urgency of taking steps to protect that heritage on various fronts.

To this end the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova stressed, during a press briefing Thursday, the need for an immediate mission by UNESCO to Karabakh.

“We reaffirm the need for the immediate organizing of a UNESCO mission to Nagorno Karabakh. We are also in contact with the sides over each particular case,’’ said Zakharova, adding that Russia has advocated for safeguarding cultural and religious sites in Karabakh “and the surrounding region.”

The Russian foreign ministry also reported that among other issues Lavrov discussed with Aivazyan was the opening of borders with Azerbaijan, which since the signing of the November 9 agreement has been referred to as “unblocking the region’s communication infrastructure.”

Lavrov had a separate meeting with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, with whom he discussed the implementation of the November 9 agreement, including “a solution to Nagorno Karabakh’s humanitarian issues and unblocking of economic and transport infrastructures.”

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