Climate under COP28 concern: World yet negligent to pollution in Azerbaijan from landmines
By Elnur Enveroglu and Asim Aliyev, AZERNEWS
Among the most serious problems facing mankind in the nineteenth century was the damage caused by mines to people, economies, and agriculture during and after the Garabagh wars.
Mines are the dirtiest and most brutal weapons on earth, and they pose a great threat to civilian populations, preventing people from returning to normal life, rebuilding cities and infrastructure, and engaging in agriculture. An example of this is the mine problem Azerbaijan faced in Garabagh after the 44-day war with Armenia.
Despite the counter-offensive operation launched by Azerbaijan on September 27, 2020, to prevent Armenia's aggressive policy and restore the sovereignty of our lands that ended the 30-year Armenian invasion of Azerbaijani lands, the main problem of landmines, however, remained a major threat for the implementation of the Great Return, the state programme for the relocation of the Azerbaijani IDPs.
Today, although UN organisations take measures against the use of landmines, the production of landmines continues in Armenia to this day. For example, Armenia has a mine factory located in Gyumri, and this factory is a manifestation of their aggressive character, which Azerbaijan suffers in the territories of Garabagh. It is estimated that Armenian invaders have buried more than one million mines on our lands over the past 30 years.
According to the agreement signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia after the end of the war, the Armenian side was to provide the Azerbaijani side with a map of the location of mines. It was supposed that this map would serve for mine clearance, and after that, infrastructure would be created on the mine-affected territories. If we look at the recent losses after the war, we still have serious issues with demining.
According to reports, more than 3500 Azerbaijani citizens have fallen victim to mines laid by Armenia over the past 32 years. 302 of them were maimed or died in the period after the end of the war.
In the preliminary information, it was indicated that representatives of the National Agency for Mine Action of Azerbaijan (ANAMA) provided that it will take at least 10-15 years to fully clear the liberated territories from mines. Three years have passed since the end of the war in Garabagh, and active construction work is underway to build infrastructure and return the IDPs to their native lands. Currently, the workers who are involved in the construction of infrastructure on the lands liberated from occupation can be considered mine victims. If we look at ANAMA's latest statement on mines, it is clear that even after the Great Return in 2030, we may face serious problems with the return of the people to Garabagh.
Unfortunately, during the occupation, the Armenian side was not
satisfied only with mining the buffer zone. Even the forests and
farmlands of the peasants are seriously contaminated with landmines
On September 19, 2023, at the 58th kilometre of the Ahmedbeyli-Fizuli-Shusha road passing through the Khojavand region, employees of the State Road Agency of Azerbaijan hit a mine and were killed. The placement of mines as a result of provocation after the war was also a manifestation of Armenia's aggressive policy. Burying mines, especially in post-war situations, and committing such provocations on the lands of Azerbaijan was a threat to the lives of civilians.
At present, ANAMA is actively engaged in the search and neutralisation of mines in the liberated lands to prevent mine casualties and invites specialists from abroad for this purpose.
It has been reported that from November 1 to November 30, 247 anti-tank mines, 228 anti-personnel mines, and 4106 unexploded ordnance were found and neutralised in the liberated territories.
However, we should note with regret that many leading countries of the world are indifferent to the mines that exist in Azerbaijan and in many parts of the world. For example, everyone knows that Armenia is a mine-producing country and that the mines buried in Garabagh today belong to Armenia. If the holding of COP28 in Dubai is related to climate and environmental cleanliness, why the world's leading countries are still silent on it? In addition to polluting Garabagh, which is the size of Lebanon, with mines and ammunition, Armenia also caused serious damage to forests, flora, and fauna. However, the leading countries of the West do not say a word about this while they show concern over the pollution of the environment. On the contrary, an imperialist state like France tries to turn Armenia into its outpost and turn the South Caucasus into a real battlefield. It is even supported by other Western countries, as well as some politicians sitting in the US Congress.
The mine problem is causing serious damage to the economy of Azerbaijan today. However, Europe requires energy and gas from Azerbaijan. Calling Azerbaijan the most reliable partner, the European Union, on the one hand, aims to satisfy its needs, on the other hand, it supports the factors that negatively affect the development of Azerbaijan. These double standards have repeatedly proven that the West is an unreliable partner itself.
Despite all this, the state of Azerbaijan is always advancing in the same direction for the sake of its national interests. At the same time, today Azerbaijan fulfilled its obligations under the Paris Agreement regarding climate change problems and tackling some issues in this direction. The country intends and is ready to meet almost 30% of its energy needs through green energy.
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