Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 6
In 2001, the UN General Assembly declared November 6 as the Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict, spokeswoman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Leyla Abdullayeva told Trend on Nov. 6.
“As a result of Armenia’s military aggression, great damage was caused to the nature of Azerbaijan, its biodiversity, the ecological situation in the entire region,” she said. “The natural resources of the region are still exploited.”
"In the territories occupied by the Armenian armed forces, 261,000 hectares of forest, including valuable forest areas, natural monuments and 145 eastern plane trees, as well as most of the various species of animals and plants included in the Red Book of Azerbaijan, territories of special importance and protected natural areas have been destroyed,” Abdullayeva added.
“The rivers flowing through the occupied territories are greatly polluted,” she said. “As a result of great pollution of the branches of the Araz, Kura-Okhchuchay and Aghstafachay rivers, a big threat is posed to the wildlife in these rivers.”
“The Sarsang reservoir on the Tartar River, intended for irrigation of over 100,000 hectares of sown areas, is used by occupation forces in such a way that in winter these areas remain under water and in summer there is an acute shortage of water,” Abdullayeva said. “As a result, there is a threat to 400,000 people living in the foothills and lowlands."
She stressed that in the occupied territories, Armenians continue to plunder 163 mineral deposits, including gold, mercury, copper, lead, zinc, coal, etc.
“This policy of Armenia, which exploits the natural resources of Azerbaijan, once again clearly shows its indifferent and unconstructive attitude towards sustainable development and progress in the region,” Abdullayeva said.
“The world community and in particular, the countries attracted in one or another way - with participation of individuals and legal entities - to illegal activity and exploitation of natural resources in the occupied Azerbaijani territories, must refuse supporting the continuing gross violation of international law," Abdullayeva added.
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.