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West needs to be objective in its approach to Yerevan's submission of mine maps

14 February 2024 20:44 (UTC+04:00)
West needs to be objective in its approach to Yerevan's submission of mine maps
Fatime Letifova
Fatime Letifova
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“There certainly should be Western pressure on Yerevan for a truth commission to investigate these tragic events," Patrick Walsh, an Irish historian, said in his comment to Azernews about the bodies of missing Azerbaijani citizens killed by Armenia back in the First Garabagh War. .

It is worth noting that after the 44-day Patriotic War, the Azerbaijan Republic created favourable conditions for the Armenian side to conduct search operations in areas where military operations were conducted, adhering to the norms of international humanitarian law and the relevant provisions of the trilateral statement signed on November 10, 2020.

The expert said that relatives of missing persons from the First Garabagh War deserve to receive information about the fate of their loved ones.

“This type of process is usually part of conflict resolution. It is an indication that conflict is over and there is an intention of peace and reconciliation. There certainly should be Western pressure on Yerevan for a truth commission to investigate these tragic events. This is a vital part of the healing process between people and needs to get greater priority," Walsh said.

The expert also condemned Armenia's failure to provide Azerbaijan with mine maps and information about missing ones in Garabagh. He called this step of Armenia inadequate and a serious obstacle to the peace process.

"Of course, this kind of behaviour is not correct. It ensures that suspicion and bitterness are prolonged, bringing unnecessary suffering to those who have lost family members and cannot get some small measure of closure. I would say this is not just a case of international law but of essential confidence-building between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Terrible things happen in war, but it is important to admit things that are unpalatable and even damaging to the greater cause of peace and reconciliation. This will not bring the dead back or right the wrongs of the past, but it will begin a process of justice that is essential for healing. Until this begins, lasting peace is very difficult, and more people will die in vain. The war is over, but the important thing is to prevent any resumption of hostilities by creating full conditions of peace and justice.”

It is worth noting that Armenia has recently submitted 8 new maps to Azerbaijan regarding minefields in the territories liberated from occupation. However, the data presented by Yerevan is inaccurate, unreliable, and incomplete, according to the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA).

After analysing and processing the forms, it was determined that the recorded data does not agree with the actual minefields and that the coordinates of the reference points are incorrect and useless.

According to the Irish expert, the inaccuracy of the maps means that Armenia wants to obstruct the process of construction works in Garabagh as well as delay the relocation of people there. Accurate maps have been available since Armenia invaded Garabagh thirty years ago.

"Not providing such maps leads to the conclusion that Armenia is attempting to obstruct the repeopling of those areas as a matter of spite. Again, that kind of behaviour is simply not conducive to peacebuilding and reconciliation.

Nevertheless, the mine issue is another running sore in the conflict, which maintains conditions that can regenerate conflict. Unfortunately, mines do not know that the war is over, and they continue to increase the number of victims, and innocent victims at that. Accurate mine maps should exist since the mining process was carried out over 3 decades, not in the hurry of war," he added.

Recall that in the First Garabagh War, during the Armenian occupation, 3890 Azerbaijani citizens were registered with the State Commission as missing persons, and as of January 1, 2024, only the remains of 25 individuals have been identified, based on available information.

Azerbaijani society was increasingly concerned about the fate of 54 Azerbaijanis who went missing during the First Garabagh War.

According to the information gathered between 1998 and 2001, the ICRC visited and officially registered the 54 Azerbaijani citizens who were taken prisoner and held at detention centres in Armenia and Azerbaijan’s temporarily occupied lands.

While the bodies of 17 individuals were repatriated to Azerbaijan, the fate of 4 individuals remains unclear, and despite reports indicating the deaths of 33 individuals in captivity, their remains have yet to be returned.

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