On June 25, armjok.am’s Facebook page, which has 95,790 followers, wrote that a bill was passed in Brussels with 607 votes, which obliges Azerbaijan to return all Armenian prisoners of war without any preconditions. The news started spreading with viral speed on Facebook, particularly on the Facebook pages supporting Nikol Pashinyan.
In fact, the information is old. The European Parliament adopted the resolution on May 20, 2021. NA deputy Naira Zohrabyan also wrote about it. She informed that the European Parliament passed a resolution with 607 votes in favor, which obliges Azerbaijan to release the Armenian prisoners of war and captive civilians without any preconditions.
The news that is being spread again is a portion of Zohrabyan’s post. After that, there was no announcement about the adoption of a new resolution. Earlier, on April 19, a vote was held in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, as a result of which it was decided to include in the agenda of the plenary session the issue of “Armenian prisoners of war, other detainees and displaced persons” in Azerbaijan.
More than a month has passed since the adoption of the resolution on May 20, Armenia is still fighting for the return of prisoners of war in Azerbaijan.
On June 12, the acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan announced in a Facebook post that 15 prisoners of war held in Azerbaijan had returned to Armenia. It is important, however, that it was not the PACE resolution that had a significant impact on the return of the captives. Baku had returned the prisoners of war to Armenia in exchange for a map of the minefields. This was also mentioned in the official statement of Baku. Nikol Pashinyan, meanwhile, insisted that Yerevan had not exchanged maps of minefields in exchange for prisoners, but had taken steps in response to Azerbaijan’s move.
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili took an active part in this process. The exchange took place on the border of Azerbaijan with Georgia.
“They were released with the active support of […] Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Rikor,” the Georgian government said in a statement. Nikol Pashinyan’s spokeswoman Mane Gevorgyan also wrote about the mediation between the United States and Georgia.
There is no clear information about the number of prisoners yet. During the pre-election debate on Public Television, Pashinyan stated that the verified number of Armenian captives is 60, and the unspecified number is 110.