YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Azerbaijan freed and repatriated at the weekend ten more Armenian soldiers captured during deadly fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border that broke out last month.
The soldiers were flown to Yerevan by a plane chartered by the European Union. Toivo Klaar, the EU’s special representative to the South Caucasus, was also on board.
The EU said their release was the result of an agreement reached by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at their December 14 meeting in Brussels hosted by European Council President Charles Michel.
“An important humanitarian gesture follows the efforts by the EU to work with both countries to build on mutual trust,” it added in a statement.
Michel said after the Brussels talks that Aliyev and Pashinyan pledged to de-escalate tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and restore rail links between the two South Caucasus states. Aliyev described the talks as “productive.”
A total of three dozen Armenian soldiers were taken prisoner during the November 16 fighting on the border which left at least 13 troops from both sides dead. Azerbaijan freed ten POWs on December 4.