Armenia and Azerbaijan Exchange Prisoners of War

    Armenia and Azerbaijan Exchange Prisoners of War
    Photo: Astrig Agopian/Getty Images News via Getty Images (Sept. 25, 2023)

    The Facts

    • 32 Armenians captured between 2020-2023 were traded on Wednesday in return for two Azerbaijani soldiers held captive since April this year, with the exchange taking place on the border between the two countries.

    • In a statement posted on Facebook, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan confirmed that all 32 prisoners had crossed the border from Azerbaijan, and are to "undergo a preliminary medical examination" before returning to their families.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The agreement of a prisoner exchange between Azerbaijan and Armenia is a historic development that the region is hopeful will be the first step towards an end to hostilities. Amicable developments are an unexpected turn after decades of conflict, and the unified call for security surely paves the way toward further reconciliation via a peace treaty.

    Narrative B

    A peace treaty does not need to be in place to advance improved bilateral relations between Baku and Yerevan. The prisoner exchange is a helpful example that, even without a peace treaty, the two nations can cooperate without an accord. Although inevitably still the end goal, practical normalization must be prioritized over a rushed approach towards ink on paper.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 30% chance that Azerbaijan will invade Armenia before 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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