Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan on Tuesday blasted Azerbaijan for continuing to hold Armenian prisoners of war, and accused Baku of using the captives “as a political tool.”
Mizoyan made the remarks during a meeting in Prague with his Czech counterpart, Jan Lipavský, who emphasized the need to respect international laws and the Geneva Convention.
“Azerbaijan continues to keep Armenian prisoners of war and civilians in captivity, using them as a political tool. The policy of destruction and desecration of Armenian cultural and religious heritage in the territories that have passed under the control of Azerbaijan is also very worrying. In this regard, we expect a targeted response and practical steps from the international community,” Mirzoyan said after his meeting with the Czech official.
Mirzoyan also stressed that Azerbaijan’s use of force and massive violations of human rights do not create a stable basis for peace and security in the region.
“Armenia has repeatedly announced its readiness for a constructive dialogue free from preconditions and bellicose rhetoric for the sake of stable peace and development in our region,” said Mirzoyan.
Lipavský said during a press conference after his talks with Armenia’s top diplomat that the Czech Republic strictly respects international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions and expects the same from other countries, Armenpress reported.
“At any multilateral or bilateral meeting, we emphasize that international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions must be respected. The Czech Republic strictly respects them and expects the same from other countries. Speaking in particular about the problem you mentioned, the Czech Republic supports the [President of the European Council] Charles Michel’s mediation aimed at the settlement of the conflict, and I think he plays a very important role,” Lipavský said in response to a question by Armenpess.
The Czech leader was referring to efforts by the European Union to accelerate peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Michel, the European Council president, has mediated several meetings between Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan. During the last meeting a decision was made to push ahead with the delimitation and demarcation of borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a process discussed and agreed to during talks between the two leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin in November.