AIR Center organized a webinar titled “Second Karabakh War and Landmines”

On April 29, a webinar titled "The Second Karabakh War and Mines" was organized by the Center of Analysis of International Relations. During his opening remarks, AIR Center's Chairman Dr. Farid Shafiyev said that after the Second Karabakh War and the liberation of the previously occupied territories, Azerbaijan is faced with the problem of landmines. According to him, in order to reconstruct these areas, the region must first be cleared of mines, but the map of minefields has not yet been submitted by Armenia: "Azerbaijan has always supported the International Mine Action Campaign. However, it failed to fulfill its obligations under the campaign on its territory, as these territories were not under the control of Azerbaijan. But now the situation has changed. Again, these issues are on the agenda of Azerbaijan. It is important for Azerbaijan to clear the region of mines".

Mr. Samir Poladov, Deputy Chairman of the Mine Action Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (ANAMA), said that more than 200 people were involved in the demining processes in the liberated areas. According to him, both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Emergency Situations are involved in demining as well: "Currently, we have prepared a number of important legal and regulatory documents. Many organizations are interested in working in this direction in Azerbaijan. We come across different types of mines in the area. It is very difficult to neutralize them."

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Azerbaijan Gulam Isakzai said he had witnessed the horrors of landmines in Afghanistan and understood how difficult the problem was for Azerbaijan. He said the UN welcomes the government's efforts to clear mines: "I have been working in Azerbaijan for five years and I have personally witnessed the great work done by ANAMA. The United Nations has allocated 2 million euros to support mine risk education. The UN invites Armenia and Azerbaijan to join the Mine Action Convention."

Kasia Derlika-Rosenbauer, Policy and Government Liaison Manager at the International Campaign to Ban Landmines-Cluster Munition Coalition, spoke about her campaign and said she hoped Azerbaijan would be a country freed from mines in the near future: “It is time for Azerbaijan to join the Convention on Mine Action. This will have many obligations for Azerbaijan, as well as political benefits. It will also have a positive impact on the peace-building process."

Adam Komorowski, Regional Director for Southern Africa and Latin America of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG), said that he had recently held talks on future cooperation with Azerbaijan. He noted that his organization has operated in 68 countries for 30 years: "Great work awaits to clear the territories of Azerbaijan from mines. There is a lot of work to be done. Future cooperation with MAG will be based on an agreement with ANAMA."

Board member of the AIR Center Esmira Jafarova said that demining was one of the main issues on Azerbaijan's agenda. According to her, although Azerbaijan has not yet signed the Mine Action Convention, it nevertheless supports it.

Then the webinar then continued with a Q&A session.