By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijan's Mine Action Agency has said that over 200 mines and unexploded ordnance were defused on territories liberated from Armenia's occupation in the 44-day war in 2020.
From June 14 to June 19, some 89 anti-personnel and 107 anti-tank mines, as well as 11 unexploded ordnance were found and rendered harmless in Tartar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Shusha, Gubadli, Jabrayil and Zangilan regions.
As a result of the operations carried out last week,111 hectares of land were cleared of mines and unexploded ordnance.
On June 21, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said that Armenia's failure to submit mine maps to Azerbaijan is delaying the implementation of a tripartite agreement signed by Azerbaijan, Russia, and Armenia in 2020.
Over 140 Azerbaijan citizens have been killed or injured in mine explosions since November 10, 2020.
Armenia deliberately and constantly planted mines on Azerbaijani territories, in violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention, thereby being a major threat to regional peace, security and cooperation.
Until the June 12 agreement to hand over 15 Armenian detainees to Armenia in exchange for mine maps for Aghdam, Yerevan refused to provide maps of hundreds of thousands of mines it had planted on the Azerbaijani territories over three decades of occupation.
The Mine Action Agency defused 7,449 antipersonnel mines, 3,643 anti-tank mines, and 9,033 unexploded munitions from November 10, 2020, to May 31, 2021. In this period, the agency cleared 2,763.5 hectares of mines and unexploded ordnance.
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.
The clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan resumed in autumn 2020 after Armenia's forces deployed in the occupied Azerbaijani lands targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, causing casualties among civilians and the military. In the early hours of September 27, Azerbaijan launched a counter-offensive operation that lasted six weeks. The operation resulted in the liberation of Azerbaijan's occupied lands.
A Russia-brokered ceasefire deal that Azerbaijan and Armenia signed on November 10, 2020, brought an end to the 44-day war between the two countries. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it had occupied.
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