Demining of the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia requires about $1 billion and this will take 8-12 years, Director of the Azerbaijani National Agency for Mine Actions (ANAMA) Nazim Ismayilov told journalist today.
He said these works will be carried out within the framework of “A great return” project of World Bank and the Azerbaijani government.
Over the past 10 years, the agency demined 126 million square meters of the Azerbaijani territory, over 600,000 unexploded ammunitions that remained over from Soviet times were detonated, he said at the news conference on results of the agency’s work in this area.
Currently, the agency holds mine clearance work in the country’s 10 regions and the work is expected to be completed by 2013. ANAMA has a task to prepare a national capacity of personnel in this area to demine the occupied territories immediately after their liberation, he said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – Russia, France, and the U.S. – are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council’s four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the occupied territories.