By Vafa Ismayilova
France is keen to donate € 400,000 (AZN 803,272 or $472,752 ) to support mine clearance operations on the Azerbaijani territories liberated from Armenia's occupation in the last year's war.
"Another area where international cooperation is needed is de-mining so internally displaced people can return to their land. The areas in Karabakh that require de-mining are huge. So I was happy to officially inform Azerbaijan's ANAMA [Mine Action Agency] that France is keen to donate € 400,000 to demining this year," French ambassador in Azerbaijan Zacharie Gross wrote on his Twitter account on September 8.
Earlier, the British embassy in Azerbaijan said that the UK had contributed over AZN 1 million (£500,000) to Azerbaijan’s recovery efforts and demining activities in its liberated lands.
It should be noted that Azerbaijan has not yet been observed to react to France's proposal.
During the last year's 44-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, French President Emmanuel Macron and some French circles failed to demonstrate a neutral position, despite the fact that France is a co-chair in the OSCE Minsk Group mediating talks between Baku and Yerevan.
In contradiction to the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair, only the interests of Armenia were protected and an inadequate position, which did not meet the requirements of a balanced and fair co-chairmanship, was displayed. This stance was several times criticized by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and some other senior officials.
Some 160 Azerbaijanis have been killed or injured in the explosion of mines planted by Armenians in Azerbaijan’s formerly occupied regions since the end of the war in autumn 2020 that saw Azerbaijan liberate most of its territories in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
On June 12, Azerbaijan handed over 15 Armenian prisoners in exchange for a map detailing the location of 97,000 mines in formerly-occupied Agdam.
On July 3, Armenia submitted to the Azerbaijani side maps of about 92,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines planted during the occupation in Fuzuli and Zangilan regions in exchange of 15 ex-convicts of Armenian origin.
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.
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