Azerbaijan vows to sue companies responsible for Karabakh pollution
Baku has pledged to hold companies accountable for causing environmental damage in Karabakh during Armenia's nearly 30-year occupation of Azerbaijani territory, local news sources have reported.
Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry's department head Faig Mutallimov made the remarks during a media tour of Azerbaijan’s liberated liberated Zangilan region on April 19.
"The research results, all assessments and revealed facts are documented. The collected documents will be submitted to the relevant authorities and the issue will be raised before the companies and enterprises which cause the pollution,” Mutallimov stressed.
He underlined that Karabakh and East Zangazur regions are rich with their 14 main rivers, nine reservoirs, mineral water deposits and others.
"After the liberation of these lands, control, and monitoring of water resources was resumed there. As a result of the monitoring, high-level pollution of the transboundary rivers, in particular, Okhchuchay [running between Armenia and Azerbaijan], with heavy metals was determined. The main source of pollution is the mining enterprises of Armenia. The pollution process still continues,” he added.
Mutallimov noted that the ministry alerted foreign organizations about the contamination of the Okhchuchay River and the associated environmental hazards.
The ministry's official said that a study group has been formed to make a rehabilitation program based on scientific methods to prevent the pollution of rivers and restore their ecosystem.
On April 12, President Ilham Aliyev stated at a meeting dedicated to the results of the first quarter of 2022 that a special report on Armenia's environmental terror against Azerbaijan was prepared and adopted a few years ago by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
He stated that the rivers in Azerbaijan’s Karabakh were occupied and mercilessly exploited by Armenians.
“The catastrophe of the Okhchuchay River is before the eyes of the world now. We have raised this issue,” he said.
Noting that when he raised the issue, Azerbaijan was promised that the company responsible for the disaster would come and clean it up, he emphasized that a year has passed and no proposals have been received.
“Cronimet is the company that contaminated the Okhchuchay River. It is a large company, and according to some foreign media, it had an illegal business relationship with representatives of Serzhik Sarkisyan’s former junta regime using corruption schemes. Together they operated the copper plant there,” he said.
Aliyev noted that the preparations for a legal claim in this regard with the involvement of international experts are underway.
Armenia’s three-decade occupation of Azerbaijani territories extensively damaged the ecosystem, wildlife and natural resources in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenians also resorted to large-scale acts of ecological terror in regions they had to leave under the trilateral November peace deal that stipulated the return of Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.