By Vafa Ismayilova
Visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker has stressed the importance of sharing maps to demine Azerbaijani territories liberated from Armenia's occupation in a 44-day war in 2020, Trend reported on June 8.
Reeker made the remarks while commenting on the need for Yerevan to submit mine maps to Baku for demining the liberated lands.
Speaking about the killing of two Azerbaijani journalists in a mine explosion in liberated Kalbajar region on June 4, Reeker described it as a tragedy.
"It is a tragedy that people are killed as the result of the mine explosion. We think that it is necessary to give all the minefields maps. We can render technical assistance in the process of clearing the territories of mines," he said.
Reeker expressed concern about the latest tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
"We must all be concerned that the situation may worsen. We call on the two sides to resolve this issue peacefully and as soon as possible. We call on the parties to return to the substantive negotiations under the chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group," the US official said.
Reeker stated that the U.S. is ready to render technical assistance to demarcate the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"The demarcation of the border is very important. It will benefit everyone. Political will is required to launch this process," he said.
Since 1997, the U.S. has been acting as one of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs along with Russia and France to promote a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict through negotiation and mediation. The OSCE Minsk Group was instituted in 1992 and activated in 1994.
On January 27, 2021, U.S. Ambassador Earle Litzenberger congratulated Azerbaijan on the restoration of its territorial integrity and expressed the U.S. readiness to participate in the restoration of the lands liberated from Armenia's occupation.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10 brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 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.
On January 11, the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders signed the second statement since the end of the 44-day war. The newly-signed statement is set to implement clause 9 of the November 2020 statement related to the unblocking of all economic and transport communications in the region.
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