Assistance To Azerbaijan In De-Mining Is Like Drop In Ocean - LINKS Europe (UPDATE)

(MENAFN- Trend News Agency) Details added: first version posted on 12:26

BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 26. The international assistance provided to Azerbaijan in de-mining is like a drop in the ocean, Director of LINKS Europe Foundation Dennis Sammut said at the 2nd international humanitarian conference on "Combating mine threat - the path to sustainable development" in Baku, trend reports.

According to Sammut, he has been shocked during his recent visit to Aghdam.

"Seeing every destroyed house, I thought that families lived there many years ago. We must approach the issue of de-mining in the South Caucasus from a humanitarian point of view. Today, 600,000 people who have been refugees since 1990s cannot return to their homes here,” he noted.

“Mines prevent people from returning to their native lands. The international community must help Azerbaijan in this matter, given the scale of the problem. We must work together, focus on the humanitarian sphere of de-mining, and provide technical support. This is a human rights issue, the inhabitants of these places have the right to return to their homes,” director of LINKS Europe said.

“We must draw the attention of the international community to Aghdam, as well as convey to the world what was done in Aghdam," he also noted.

Besides, according to Sammut, countries should accede to the Ottawa Convention.

"Azerbaijan is a large and rich country with a strong army and good diplomatic ties. We must take into account the leadership of Azerbaijan in the region. Azerbaijan can take the lead in the field of de-mining in the region. The country has extensive experience in this area and can share it,” the foundation's head pointed out.

“I propose to hold, an international conference on de-mining in the South Caucasus at the end of the year. We must involve a number of countries in this effort, take an ambitious and innovative approach. Working together, we can turn the South Caucasus into a mine-free region by 2030," he added.

Following the liberation of its lands from Armenian occupation in the 2020 second Karabakh war, Azerbaijan from Nov. 2020 started carrying out operations on clearing its lands from mines, booby traps, and various weapons left behind by the Armenian troops.

The estimates done following the end of the war, have shown that 302 Azerbaijani citizens have become victims of the mines, 57 of the citizens were killed, and 245 were injured.

Since November 2020, as a result of large-scale mine clearance measures carried out by the country, an area of 81,386 hectares has been cleared. A total of 88,260 mines were identified and defused, including 28,259 anti-personnel mines, 15,303 anti-tank mines and 44,698 units of unexploded ordnance.


Trend News Agency

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