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February 24
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Bilateral negotiations were conducted between the office of the prime minister of Armenia and the administration of the president of Azerbaijan, as a result of which this statement was publicized. Sargis Khandanyan, Chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of the National Assembly (NA) of Armenia, told this to reporters in the NA Friday—and referring to the joint statement by the two countries on the exchange of detainees.   

"There is no mention of a third party in the statement; they [i.e. the aforesaid negotiations] were conducted between the two staffs [of the two countries]," Khandanyan said.

And to the remark that this initiates negotiations exclusively in a bilateral format, which was Azerbaijan's proposal, he responded as follows: "The matter concerns a humanitarian issue, a very sensitive issue—captives. And an opportunity has arisen to negotiate and resolve this issue in this format. It is a very important statement, which should not be underestimated, but also should not be overestimated in the logic of the overall negotiation process. What Armenia has said, it continues to insist that the negotiations on the peace agreement should take place on the basis of the principles that the parties have agreed to during the tripartite meeting back in July of this year. Armenia urges the mediating parties to ensure the continuity of negotiations where they have started."

As reported earlier, in accordance with the aforesaid joint statement by Armenia and Azerbaijan, the latter shall release 32 Armenian captives. And Armenia, in its turn, and guided by the values of humanity and as a manifestation of goodwill, shall release two Azerbaijani servicemen.

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