Azerbaijan trades 15 Armenian prisoners for map showing anti-personnel mines
Azerbaijan said on Saturday it handed over 15 Armenian prisoners in exchange for a map detailing the location of landmines in Agdam, an area abandoned by Armenian forces as part of a deal to end a six-week war Last year.
A Russian-brokered ceasefire ended the fighting that saw the Azeri army expel Armenian forces from parts of the territory they had controlled since the 1990s in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Irregular skirmishes continue, underscoring the fragility of the ceasefire. Read more
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the news and said he hoped it would lay the groundwork for greater cooperation.
“We continue to call for the return of all detainees and stand ready to assist countries in the region in their efforts to continue cooperation and resolve outstanding issues between them,” Blinken said in a statement.
The prisoner exchange deal, the first of its kind between the two countries, was announced by the Azerbaijani foreign ministry.
Prisoners of war are a key problem for Armenia, while landmines continue to claim victims in Azerbaijan.
Two journalists and a local official were killed on June 4 when a landmine exploded in Azerbaijani district of Kalbajar, in territory that was evacuated by Armenian-born forces in November. Read more
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