Commentary on the statement of the Armenian side on the intention to hand over set of landmine maps to Azerbaijan

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan takes note of the statement by the National Security Service of Armenia dated 25 January 2024, on the intention to present landmine maps to Azerbaijan.

Armenia’s indiscriminate, massive and purposeful planting of landmines in the territories of Azerbaijan is one of the major threats to large-scale post-conflict restoration and reconstruction work, the civilian population living in these territories, and the return of IDPs and their peaceful lives in their homes. These actions of Armenia are not only a war crime, but also serious violation of international humanitarian law and Armenia’s undertaken commitments. 

Azerbaijan, both before the 2020 Patriotic War and during the post-conflict period, has repeatedly demanded Armenia to submit landmine maps. 

It is well-known that the accuracy of landmine maps, the existence of which was denied by Armenia following the signing of the Trilateral Statement dated 10 November 2020, but later was submitted as a result of international pressure, is only 25%. We have frequently pointed out that the provided maps are ineffective, incomplete, and do not accurately portray the reality on the ground. Although these maps show that only 400 thousand landmines were reportedly deployed in our territories, the actual number of landmines surpasses one million.

At the same time, it is worth noting that more than 55% of landmine explosions in recent years occurred in locations outside the areas where maps were provided by Armenia. We remind that 342 of our fellow citizens have become landmine victims since the end of the Patriotic War in 2020, with 65 individuals killed, including three journalists. Out of 65 dead, 50 were civilians.

It is also the fact that, even after 2020, Armenia deployed new landmines of Armenia production within and along the perimeters of the territory of Azerbaijan where Russian peacekeeping forces were temporarily deployed, with about 500 thousand landmines planted. At the same time, this proves that there is no basis for the statements of Armenia declaring that it has neither produced nor exported landmines in recent decades.

This statement by the Armenian side demonstrates that the intention of this country is not a humanitarian one and this step could not be considered as a confidence building measure. Azerbaijan expects Armenia to submit accurate maps of all land-mined sites that have not yet been fully presented to Azerbaijan. 

Moreover, urgent measures have to be taken by Armenia to provide information on fates of 4000 missing Azerbaijanis, and places of mass graves where Azerbaijanis have been buried over the last 30 years.

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