Baku, Azerbaijan, May 31
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva – Trend:
NATO will work on mine risk education for the Armenian population and mine clearance is not part of this project, a NATO official told Trend May 31.
Earlier, on May 30, Deputy Head of the Defense Policy Department of Armenia’s Ministry of Defense Mher Israelyan said that Armenia and NATO will create a Trust Fund in the next two months.
“It is expected to implement two projects within the Fund – elimination of over 130 unusable armored vehicles, for which 1.3 million euros will be invested, and humanitarian demining in bordering communities,” said Israelyan.
As a response to Trend’s question on the issue, the NATO official said that NATO and Armenia are working together on the basis on an Individual Partnership Action Plan which focuses on areas such as interoperability and defence reform.
“In that context, we are working on setting up a new Trust Fund which will help Armenia fulfil its Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty obligations, as well as contribute to the safety of the civilian population. The Trust Fund will be implemented on the Armenian territory and concerns the demilitarization, dismantling, and disposal of decommissioned military vehicles. It will also work on mine risk education for the local population. Mine clearance is not part of this project,” said the NATO official.
“NATO continues to encourage both Armenia and Azerbaijan to return to the negotiation table and to work towards a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” added the NATO official. “NATO fully supports the Minsk Group Process to that end.”
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.