BAKU, Azerbaijan, November 18. The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed a Decree approving the "First State Program on the Great Return to Azerbaijan's Liberated Territories" on November 18.
According to the state program, de-mining the region and neutralizing unexploded ordnance is one of the most important strategic directions for the construction and sustainable development of the liberated territories.
Since the agreement of November 10, 2020, 268 people have suffered from mines and unexploded ordnance. A total of 45 people died, including 35 civilians. Some 223 people, including 91 civilians, were injured. Currently, in a total of 59,055 hectares of liberated territories in Azerbaijan, 76,810 mines and unexploded ordnance have been neutralized.
According to the first "Great Return" state program, 280 thousand hectares of liberated territories are going to be de-mined by 2026. In accordance with the Action Plan, the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action is going to undertake the task with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Emergency Situations. In addition, from 2022 to 2025, a total of 215 thousand hectares of the territories are planned to be de-mined.
The fact that Armenia did not disclose the maps of the minefield is one of the main factors slowing down this process. The Armenian military and political leadership continue to stick to the terror policy, trying to prevent Azerbaijanis from returning to their fatherland.
The Chairman of the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action, Vugar Suleymanov, told Trend, that the international support for the de-mining process in Azerbaijan's liberated territories is not going as expected.
"Nevertheless, the work is currently underway in this direction with the joint efforts of relevant governmental institutions. We hope that the scope and the volume of the support will increase soon," he said.
According to Suleymanov, the establishment of the Agency took place in accordance with the goals set in 2021. Both the agency's human and technological potential is going to grow in the near future. Thus, necessary equipment, tools, and technology are planned to be bought.
"Moreover, the personnel of the Agency has increased, and this process still continues. In our education center in Goygol, we continue to prepare the new sappers, and team leaders, as well as hold training on field engineering," said Suleymanov.
Armenia is interested in preventing Azerbaijanis from returning to their homeland and therefore continues its mine warfare policy. This country, on which there is no international pressure, still manufactures mines. Such steps by Armenia, which talks about peace in the region, are beyond understanding.
After liberating the occupied territories with its military might and political will, Azerbaijan is now restoring its lands with its own forces. Realization of the "First State Program on the Great Return to Azerbaijan's Liberated Territories" is more likely to provide Azerbaijanis with a safe return to their homeland.