Armenia continues to refrain from providing Azerbaijan with the minefield maps, as more innocent people die in the territories, recovered from Armenian occupation. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declares having transferred all maps, while their Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan voices an opposing position, confirming that Armenia still has minefield maps.

Armenian Prime Minister announced back in October 2022 that they had given Azerbaijan all the minefield maps available in Yerevan, insisting that Armenia did not possess more accurate data. Meanwhile, Minister Mirzoyan hinted at the possibility of delivering additional maps based on reconstructed information on minefields by Armenian authorities. The statement cast a shadow on Yerevan’s previous assertions and accentuated the prominence of accurate data for the safety of citizens and the reconstruction of Karabakh.

The growing number of minefield victims on Azerbaijani lands demonstrates just how grave the situation is. The official statistics show that 58 people were blown up in minefields set by Armenians in 2023, leaving 19 dead and another 39 injured. 342 have suffered, including 65 deaths, since the Patriotic War ended in 2020.

A more active involvement of the international community in the solution of the minefield problem becomes prominent in such a context. Azerbaijan has been initiating dialogue on various international platforms, proposing to establish a ‘Global Mine Action Trust Fund’ in April 2022, for instance. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has always stated that demining will require significant time and resources.

Information exchange on minefields has often been a platform for humanitarian gestures between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thus, on 12 June 2021, Armenia handed over maps of minefields in Aghdam to Azerbaijan, which was reciprocated with a release of 15 Armenian military personnel. President Aliyev states that the maps provided by Armenia are only 25% accurate, and we need more thorough and accurate data to ensure security.

The fact that these minefields still exist is a significant hindrance to the post-conflict reconstruction and overall development of the region. The urgency of the problem requires an active intervention from the international community, obliging Armenia to provide Azerbaijan with all the required minefield maps. This will become a key factor for peace and stability in the region. Transparency and responsibility on the Armenian part with active support and involvement of the international community are a must for an effective resolution of the problem.

 

Murad Najafov