By Vafa Ismayilova
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva has said that Armenia's military and political leadership is fully responsible for the death of civilians in Azerbaijan's liberated territories, Azertag reported on June 4.
She made the remarks in an Instagram post to express her condolences over the killing of Azerbaijani Television and Radio Broadcasting CJSC (AzTV) cameraman Siraj Abishov, Azerbaijan State News Agency (AZERTAC) correspondent Maharram Ibrahimov and repesentative of the Kalbajar region executive office Arif Aliyev in a mine explosion in liberated Kalbajar region on June 4.
"Since the war ended, more than 140 people have fallen victim to landmines planted by Armenian occupiers in liberated areas. Twenty-seven of them died. Responsibility for the death of innocent people rests squarely with the military-political leadership of Armenia," Aliyeva said.
The first vice-president added that despite Azerbaijan's numerous appeals urging the provision of mine maps, "Armenia is refusing to do so, thus violating international humanitarian law and pursuing a policy of terrorism against Azerbaijan".
Aliyeva regretted that Azerbaijan's calls to the OSCE Minsk Group countries and various international organizations for pressure to be put on Armenia to issue landmine maps had yielded no results.
"International nongovernmental organizations acting as champions of journalistic rights remain tight-lipped as well! The Azerbaijani people are a victorious people! It is impossible to break their resolve or intimidate them! I express my deepest condolences to the families and the loved ones of the victims," she said.
Earlier, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry issued a statement, urging the international community not to turn a blind eye to Armenia’s policy to deliberately plant mines in Azerbaijani lands.
The ministry said that Armenia in violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, deliberately and constantly plants mines on Azerbaijani territories, thereby being the major threat to the regional peace, security and cooperation. It added that Yerevan bears all the responsibilities for the civilian Azerbaijanis becoming the victims of mines while performing their duties.
Armenia continues to refuse to provide maps of hundreds of thousands of mines it had planted on the Azerbaijani territories over three decades of occupation.
Azerbaijan has made numerous appeals to international organizations and lodged an intergovernmental complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over Armenia's refusal to provide maps of mines in the formerly occupied territories.
President Ilham Aliyev on April 20 said that Armenia’s refusal to provide mine maps amounts to another war crime committed by Yerevan. He also said that demining of the newly-liberated territories will be the first stage in the process to return Azerbaijani IDPs to their homes.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz