By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action has detected and neutralized 76 unexploded ordnance (UXO), as well as mines including 17 anti-personnel devices and one anti-tank mine during last December, ANAMA said.
Some 484 deminers and 118 support staff, six mechanical demining machines and 36 dogs involved in demining operations.
So far, the agency cleared over 278 million square meters from the UXOs and mines in the country, as well as detected and neutralized about 690 thousand unexploded mines and ammunition.
Demining operations are presently underway in the Agdam, Aghjebedi, Agstafa, Fuzuli, Gazakh and Tartar regions of Azerbaijan.
ANAMA was established on July 18, 1998 by the presidential decree under the State Commission for Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of war affected territories. Being in charge for planning and coordination, management and monitoring of mine action related activities all over the country, ANAMA is the main agency of Azerbaijan Mine Action Programme, a joint project of the Azerbaijani government and UNDP which was approved on April 2, 1999.
The Agency operates according to the Azerbaijan National Strategic Plan and ANAMA principles.
The landmine/unexploded ordinance problem in Azerbaijan has emerged in the areas that are still under the occupation of Armenian forces and those areas that have been liberated.
The project is designed to create indigenous capacity to undertake survey, mapping and clearance in currently liberated areas and to prepare for dealing with the UXO problem in occupied areas after their liberation.
Armenia occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, after laying territorial claims against its South Caucasus neighbor that had caused a lengthy war in the early 1990s.
The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenia's withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.