OREANDA-NEWS. Azerbaijani authorities on 19 December handed over to Armenia 10 servicemen detained during clashes on the border between the two countries, the republic's State Commission for Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons said.

"As a demonstration of commitment to the principles of humanism, the Republic of Azerbaijan, with the mediation of the European Union, handed over 10 Armenian soldiers to Armenia on December 19,"- the Commission said in a statement on its website.

It is specified that the transferred persons were detained on 16 November "while preventing a provocation committed by the Armenian armed forces in the direction of Kalbajar.

In addition, the statement of the State Commission states that Azerbaijan extradited a civilian and a soldier to Armenia on 26 November.

"At the same time, as a result of negotiations, the Armenian side provided the Azerbaijani side with mine maps of other liberated territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. We thank the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation for its mediation mission in obtaining the mine maps,"- the organisation added.

On 14 December the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said that the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Nikol Pashinyan and Ilham Aliyev, had assured the EU of their commitment to the implementation of the Russian-brokered agreements on Karabakh.

Michel stressed that the resolution of key humanitarian issues, such as the release of detainees and the resolution of the fate of the missing, was of crucial importance. He said that humanitarian gestures from both sides would help to build confidence between the countries and help to create the conditions for reconciliation and peace.

On 26 November, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Armenian Prime Minister Nicola Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Sochi. The talks lasted about three hours and were timed to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire statement of 9 November 2020.

A joint statement was issued following the meeting. It states that the sides agreed to take steps to improve stability and security on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border. In addition, an agreement was reached to establish a bilateral commission on the delimitation of the state border with subsequent demarcation, with consultative assistance from the Russian Federation.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been disputing the ownership of Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988. At that time the predominantly Armenian inhabited region declared its secession from the Azerbaijani SSR. Baku lost control of Karabakh during the 1992-1994 military conflict. In September 2020, Baku took control of a number of settlements in the fighting.

In November 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Nagorny Karabakh, with Russian participation.