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Armenia Prioritizes Captive Return in Peace Efforts During Ongoing Negotiations

Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia

Armenia remains committed in its pursuit of comprehensive peace with Azerbaijan, emphasizing the return of Armenian captives as a crucial component of any potential peace agreement. Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, reiterated this stance during a forum titled "Building the Future," showing the ongoing efforts to secure the release of captives, including military and political leaders from Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh).

Addressing reporters, Grigoryan clarified that while the issue of captives is continuously discussed with Azerbaijan and international partners, it should not be directly tied to the signing of a peace treaty. "The establishment of peace must encompass the return of captives. Our goal is to work towards both outcomes—signing the peace treaty and ensuring the swift return of captives," Grigoryan emphasized.

Currently, official records indicate that 23 Armenian captives remain in Azerbaijan, 17 of whom were captured during Azerbaijan's military actions in 2023. Among the detainees are prominent figures such as former presidents of Artsakh Arkadi Ghukasyan, Bako Sahakyan, and Arayik Harutyunyan, as well as other former officials including globally known and respected entrepreneur and philanthropist Ruben Vardanyan.

Former presidents of Artsakh Arkadi Ghukasyan, Bako Sahakyan, Arayik Harutyunyan, Ruben Vardanyan

In parallel with efforts to address the captive issue, Armenia has received its tenth package of proposals from Azerbaijan regarding the peace treaty, according to Grigoryan. He acknowledged that while progress has been intermittent, the process remains dynamic. The Armenian Foreign Ministry recently announced its readiness to finalize and sign the peace agreement within the coming month, indicating ongoing constructive engagement with Azerbaijan's proposals.

The peace negotiations have seen both advances and challenges. Armenia responded to Azerbaijan's latest proposals on June 4, with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev expressing optimism about signing a peace agreement by November. However, Aliyev also noted the necessity of constitutional amendments in Armenia for the document's ratification, adding a layer of complexity to the diplomatic efforts. Armenia responded by saying that no foreign country has the right to dictate their own constitutional changes.


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