VIENNA, May 28. /TASS/. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Igor Popov of Russia, Stephane Visconti of France and Andrew Schofer of the United States) called on Baku to release the Armenian servicemen detained by Azerbaijan on May 27, according to a statement published on Friday.
"The Co-Chairs take note of the reported detention of six Armenian soldiers on May 27 and call for the release of all prisoners of war and other detainees on an all-for-all basis. The Co-Chairs underscore the obligation to treat detainees in accordance with international humanitarian law," the statement says.
The Co-Chairs also called on both sides to take immediate steps, including the relocation of troops, to de-escalate the situation and to begin negotiations to delimitate and demarcate the border peacefully.
"The Co-Chairs stand ready to assist in facilitating this process," the statement reads.
The situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the area of the Gegharkunik and Syunik border regions has remained tense since May 12. The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on Thursday that six Armenian servicemen were captured during an attempt by a reconnaissance and subversive group to cross into Azeri territory.
Armenia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the Armenian servicemen had been captured but noted that they had been taken prisoner while carrying out engineering works in the border area of the Gegharkunik Province of Armenia. Acting Armenia Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the incident an abduction of Armenian servicemen. Yerevan applied to the European Court of Human Rights over the incident.