By Vafa Ismayilova
Armenian Security Council Secretary Armen Grigoryan has accused former Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazyan of denying the fact that Yerevan owns maps of mined areas in formerly occupied Azerbaijani territories, the Armenian media reported on June 22.
"Until May 27, the issue of prisoners [Armenian saboteurs detained after the Karabakh peace deal signed in November 2020] was not decided. Ayvazyan told our partners that the maps of mined fields that we have already handed over [to Baku] do not exist. And when he resigned, this issue was resolved," Grigoryan said.
He believes that the ex-minister had no desire to solve security issues.
“Don’t you have a question why the problem was not solved for a long time, but as soon as he resigned and stopped participating in the negotiations, it was resolved?” Grigoryan questioned.
Asked whether the Armenian authorities will continue to hand over the mine maps to Azerbaijan for the return of other detainees, Grigoryan replied that the government is ready to respond to any constructive actions in the same way.
On May 27, Ayvazyan resigned after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced a plan to de-escalate the tension in relations with Azerbaijan.
On June 12, Baku and Yerevan agreed on the handover of 15 Armenian detainees in exchange for mine maps of Azerbaijan's Aghdam region.
Baku highly evaluated the role of all international actors - Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker, European Council President Charles Michel and the Swedish chairmanship of the OSCE for their contribution to the process.
The ministry said that obtaining mine maps will save the lives and health of tens of thousands of Azerbaijani citizens, including demining workers, and accelerate the reconstruction projects initiated by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Aghdam and the return of IDPs.
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.
Azerbaijan's 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 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended on November 10 with the signing of a trilateral peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders.
The peace agreement stipulated the return of Azerbaijan's Armenian-occupied Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin regions. Before the signing of the deal, the Azerbaijani army had liberated around 300 villages, settlements, city centres and historic Shusha city. 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 has occupied since the early 1990s.
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