Details added (first version posted at 09:36)
BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 12. Baseless accusations made by Armenian Prime Minister during a speech at Clingendael Institute in Netherlands, cast serious doubt on the desire of this country for peace, spokesperson of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry Leyla Abdullayeva said, Trend reports citing Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry.
"First of all, we Azerbaijan liberated its territories from Armenian occupation. Armenia, including for almost 30 years of occupation, also after the adoption of a tripartite statement, purposefully planted mines on these lands," Abdullayeva noted.
”World community was informed about this, pressure was put on Armenia to hand over maps of minefields to Azerbaijan, but at first the Armenian side denied the existence of such maps,” she added.
She went on to note that later, considering the position of the international community, Armenian started providing Azerbaijan with these maps, the accuracy of which was about 25 percent.
"It would be wrong to call the transfer of minefield maps by Armenia a humanitarian gesture, since this was its obligation under international humanitarian law after the signing of tripartite statement," the spokesperson said.
Abdullayeva said that 219 people died following mine explosions since the adoption of tripartite statement and most of them were civilians.
“Unfortunately, our citizens regularly become victims of mines, even after the Armenian side provided maps of minefields and Brussels meeting of the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia,” Abdullayeva said.
“A total of 10 people were injured as a result of mine explosions in April 2022, as a result of nine such incidents,” she noted.
"Azerbaijan is trying to get people back home, who were expelled from their lands decades ago. But the large-scale mine problem in these territories poses a serious threat to rapid return of displaced persons to their homes," Abdullayeva added.
"Under such circumstances, accusations of Armenian Prime Minister that Azerbaijan does not take humanitarian steps, does not return detained persons of Armenian origin, are inappropriate and unfounded. Leadership of Armenia must first figure out the reason for detention of saboteurs of Armenian origin in Azerbaijan, who illegally entered Azerbaijani territory," she said.
According to Abdullayeva, humanitarian issues are important to peace agenda, and that is why Azerbaijan has always been guided in its activities by the principles of humanism, taking unilateral humanitarian steps during second Karabakh War and after it.
"However, Armenia must finally understand that actions speak louder than words," Abdullayeva emphasized.