Baku says Yerevan hinders normalization process, peacebuilding efforts in region
Armenia hinders the normalization process and efforts to establish peace in the region, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, News.Az reports.
The statement was made in connection with the new fact of the detection of Armenian-made landmines on the Azerbaijani territory and the continued landmine threat.
“According to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense, 350 anti-personnel PMN-E landmines, produced in Armenia in 2021 and planted by Armenian armed groups which have not yet been withdrawn from the territory of Azerbaijan, were found in the northern direction of the Saribaba height,” the ministry said.
Since August of this year, 1,119 landmines have been found and neutralized in the Kalbajar and Lachin directions of the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. Moreover, 1,609 landmines produced in Armenia in 2021 have been detected and defused in the territory of the Karabakh economic region, the ministry informed.
“At the invitation of Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry, Commander of the Russian peacekeeping forces temporarily deployed on the territory of Azerbaijan, Major General Andrei Volkov, as well as the head of the Turkish contingent of the joint Turkish-Russian Monitoring Center, Major General Fatih Akpinar, and the head of the Russian contingent, Rear Admiral Oleg Semenov, inspected the mined area on November 23. On November 24, this minefield was inspected by foreign military attachés accredited to Azerbaijan and media representatives,” said the ministry.
The abovementioned facts once again demonstrate that Armenia, contrary to the 4th point of the trilateral statement of November 10, 2020, has not completely withdrawn its armed forces from Azerbaijan, and keeps grossly violating the 6th point of the trilateral statement and committing provocations against Azerbaijan, the ministry stated.
“The continuation of military provocations by Armenia against Azerbaijan, the incomplete withdrawal of its forces from the territory of the country, as well as the continued deliberate laying of landmines in our territories are the main threats to the ongoing large-scale restoration and construction work in the post-conflict period, the civilian population in these territories, the return and peaceful living in homelands of former internally displaced persons,” it added.
The ministry recalled that since the end of the Second Karabakh War, 268 Azerbaijani citizens have suffered from landmine blasts, of which 45 people, including three journalists, have died. Of the 45 dead, 35 are civilians.
“All this once again demonstrates that Armenia is hindering the normalization process and efforts to establish peace in the region. This activity of Armenia is a war crime, a serious violation of international humanitarian law and the obligations taken by Armenia within the framework of the trilateral statement,” the ministry concluded.