By Ayya Lmahamad
UK’s Defense Ministry expert from the Counter Explosives Defense Engagement office is visiting Azerbaijan today to see how the UK can assist Azerbaijan in demining liberated lands, UK’s embassy in Azerbaijan wrote on its official Twitter page on June 8.
“Last Friday’s tragic event in Kalbajar again reminds us of the devastating humanitarian risk posed by unexploded mines and left-over ordnances,” the embassy stated.
Too journalists and a local official died and four others were injured in a mine blast in Azerbaijan’s liberated Kalbajar region on June 4.
In another Tweet from June 7, the embassy stated that the UK is proud to be working with Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action and UNICEF Azerbaijan in a mine awareness program to protect people and children in the conflict-affected regions from mines.
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.
Yerevan refuses to provide maps of hundreds of thousands of mines it had planted on the Azerbaijani territories over three decades of occupation.
Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action 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 centers 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.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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