Azerbaijan, Baku / corr Trend E.Huseynov / The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has awarded a total of $187,084 to support mine victims in Azerbaijan.
The funds will be transferred to the International Eurasia Press Fund to support the Tartar Azerbaijan Mine Victims Association and establish regional branches in the Aghstafa and Fizuly regions of Azerbaijan.
According to the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA), over 400mln sq m of Azerbaijani territory is mined or has unexploded mines. Since September 2001, 53 people died and 122 received injuries as a result of 83 mine explosions.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 due to the territorial claims by Armenia against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani land including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven Districts of the country surrounding it. Since 1992 to the present time, these territories have been under the occupation of the Armenian Forces. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group ( Russia, France and USA) are presently holding peaceful negotiations.
The United States has launched another effort to strengthen peace and post-conflict recovery. The Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has awarded a total of more than $2.2 million to 23 non-governmental organizations to clean up former battle areas.