By Vafa Ismayilova
An Israeli expert has said that Armenia spent $350 million to mine lands in and around Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region that were liberated from occupation in a war in 2020, news sources reported.
"They spent $350 million to mine lands in Karabakh. This is the same money that they did not give to their old retired people, single mothers, the disabled. They did not spend on the development of health care, they did not invest in improving the lives of their own people. But spent them on this vile mining," Israeli lawyer and specialist in international law and international politics Mikhail Finkel said.
He noted that Armenia must hand over to Azerbaijan maps of minefields as the war ended.
"To mine playgrounds, cemeteries, roads, roadsides and any places where innocent people, civilians, children, tourists from other countries can be blown up, killed or injured, is... an act of terrorism, a violation of the Geneva Convention and all protocols, a gross violation of international law, " he said.
The expert expressed confidence that Azerbaijan will use the best technology to demine its liberated territories.
"I believe that the leadership of Azerbaijan will apply the best technologies in the world to do this. Israel possesses the most advanced and most unique mine clearance technologies that no one else in the world, not even the U.S. Army has, and we are happy to cooperate in this direction with brotherly Azerbaijan," he said.
At a presser for the local and foreign media in Baku on February 26, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev described Armenia’s failure to provide the maps of mined areas in liberated lands as the main difficulty for Azerbaijan. He said that this can also be considered to be a war crime as several servicemen and civilians were killed in mine blasts on liberated territories after the war.
It should be noted that 16 Azerbaijanis – including 11 civilians – were killed in mine explosions in the newly-liberated territories since the end of the war on November 10, 2020.
Azerbaijan liberated around 300 villages, city centres, settlements and historic Shusha city in the war with Armenia that lasted from September 27 and November 10. Other Armenian-occupied districts - Kalbajar, Aghdam and Lachin - returned to Azerbaijan's control after the singing of the Russian-brokered Karabakh peace deal on November 10.
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