Question to the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy: Armenians prisoners of war

Question for written answer E-001891/2021 / rev.1

to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

Rule 138
Lars Patrick Berg (ID)
Subject: Azerbaijan

On 19 March, 2021, Human Rights Watch issued a statement detailing the torture of Armenian prisoners of war while held in captivity by Azerbaijan, which is an act that is in direct contravention of the Geneva Convention. This followed Azeri attacks, in partnership with Turkey, against Armenia and civilian communities in Nagorno–Karabakh.

1. Does the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) consider Azerbaijan a reliable partner, given its human rights record, propensity for illegal aggression and support for Turkish expansionism in the Southern Caucasus?

2. What contacts has the VP/HR had with Azerbaijan entities this year?

DE
E-001891/2021
Answer from HR / Vice-President Borrell
on behalf of the European Commission

(9/7/2021)

The EU has repeatedly called on both sides to exchange prisoners of war and release all remaining detainees. On behalf of the European Union, the High Representative stressed in a declaration on 19 November 2020 [1] that prisoners of war must be exchanged. He also raised the issue with his counterparts at the EU-Azerbaijan Cooperation Council on December 18, 2020 and at the EU-Armenia Partnership Council on December 17, 2020. On the occasion of the release of Armenian soldiers on January 29, 2021, the EU spokesman reaffirmed the position of the EU and the demand for the release of those who were still detained. [2] The EU reaffirmed its position in its declaration on the prisoners of the recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan [3] in the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 28 April 2021 and in the declaration of the EU in the Permanent Council of the OSCE of 6 May 2021 [4] set out on this question. On June 2, 2021, in a telephone conversation with the Azerbaijani President Aliyev and a meeting with the incumbent Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan, the President of the European Council Michel emphasized that stability and prosperity in the South Caucasus and the deepening of relations with the two partner countries are of great importance for the EU Meaning. [5]

The EU has called for any violation of international humanitarian law to be punished. The allegations of torture, ill-treatment or execution of prisoners during the recent hostilities are extremely worrying and require thorough investigation. In this context, the EU stands ready to contribute to international and independent judicial mechanisms and to support independent investigations. These procedures should be incorporated into a wider peace-building process involving Armenia and Azerbaijan.



[1]
 https://www.consilium.europa.eu/de/press/press-releases/2020/11/19/nagorno-karabakh-declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union/

[2] https://twitter.com/ExtSpoxEU/status/1355075592320901124

[3] https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/council-europe/97449/eu-statement-captives-recent-conflict-between-armenia-and-azerbaijan_en

[4] https://eeas.europa.eu/sites/default/files/pc_no_1312_eu_statement_in_response_to_the_minsk_group.pdf

[5] Pressemitteilung im Anschluss an die Gespräche von Präsident Michel mit dem aserbaidschanischen Präsidenten Aliyev und dem amtierenden armenischen Premierminister Pashinyan – Consilium (europa.eu)