Azerbaijan released eight Armenian soldiers captured during frontier clashes in November 2021 on February 7.
This move comes after the February 4 meeting of EU Council President Charles Michel, French President Emanuel Macron, Armenian President Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, which aimed to restart negotiations between the two sides following the 2020 conflict in which Azerbaijan regained much of the territory it lost in a previous conflict that ended in 1994.
"The release by Azerbaijan and reparation to Armenia of 8 Armenian detainees is another sign of positive developments following the meeting with @EmmanuelMacron, @azpresident and @NikolPashinyan," wrote Michel on Twitter. Macron added that France had sent over a plane to pick up the released Armenian prisoners.
Azerbaijani authorities said that move was made on the basis of "humanist principles".
The State Commission on Captives, Missing and Hostages said in a press release that some of them were servicemen detained on November 16, 2021, while preventing the "provocation" committed by the Armenian armed forces in the Kalbajar region of the state border.
At the February 4 meeting Aliyev raised the issue of informing the Azerbaijani side about the location of the mass graves of Azerbaijani citizens missing in the first Armenian-Azerbaijani war.
According to the Azerbaijani authorities, "in return for this humanitarian step of the Azerbaijani side, the Armenian side must provide the Azerbaijani side with information about Azerbaijani military and civilian citizens killed and likely to be buried in mass graves in the first Armenian-Azerbaijani war, as well as the location of such mass graves".
"The Armenian side did not undertake any unilateral obligations to clarify the fate of the missing," Vahan Unanyan, spokesman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry, told Radio Azatutyun. “Both in the first and in the second Artsakh war, the Armenian side had missing people. We attach importance to clarifying the fate of the missing. In this sense, the Armenian side did not assume any unilateral obligations,” he said in response.