Russia does not see any actions that would deliberately delay the exchange of prisoners of war and bodies of those killed in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, however, there are objective difficulties for progress in this process., Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference on Tuesday.
According to him, given the terrain, the very nature of the hostilities, as well as the absence of accurate lists of missing persons, “it is very difficult to deal with these issues.”
“In order to effectively exchange bodies and detainees, it is necessary to take an inventory of the state of affairs in this area. And, of course, the military leaders on both sides must have very clear lists of persons who are considered missing, so that it can be more substantive, more specific,” said the Minister.
He added that one of the main tasks of the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh was to facilitate the exchange of prisoners of war and the bodies of the dead. To this end, as Lavrov pointed out, they have already taken a number of concrete steps.
“We are interested in solving this humanitarian problem as soon as possible,” the Russian Foreign Minister stressed.
“I would like to note that, our peacekeepers actually paid increased attention to these problems in a situation when a key international institution – the International Committee of the Red Cross – evacuated its employees from Nagorno-Karabakh. Therefore, the fact that at the first stage, our peacekeepers offered support to the parties, was very important in practical terms,” said the Russian Foreign Minister.
He drew attention to the fact that the employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross have already returned to Stepanakert and the organization plans to increase its presence in the region to 400 people, as well as to increase its requests for financing activities in Nagorno-Karabakh up to 45 million Swiss francs.
“Therefore, let’s hope that with the involvement of specialists from this specialized international structure, things will go faster. Our peacekeepers will, of course, provide assistance to the best of their ability,” the Russian Foreign Minister concluded.