Serious Political Obstacles Exist in South Caucasus to Settle Ecological Problems: OSCE Envoy
Azerbaijan, Baku, 10 April /corr. Trend K.Ramazanova / Destroying natural resources in occupied Azerbaijani territories adversely affect the population in the neighboring countries, the UN Resident Co-ordinator in Azerbaijan, Bruno Pueza, said on 10 April in Baku during the seminar 'Environment and security initiatives'.
"As a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, 20% of the Azerbaijani territories has been occupied, where the forests are being cut down and burnt, water of rivers and other sources are being polluted and incorrectly utilized," Pueza said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries appeared in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenia has occupied 20% of the Azerbaijani lands including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. Since 1992 to the present time, these territories have been under Armenian occupation. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a cease-fire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Russia, France and USA) are holding peaceful negotiations.
According to the UN representative, the ecological problems affect the future development of the country. "Azerbaijan should attentively approach its natural resources," he said.
There are serious political obstacles in South Caucasus to settle the ecological problems, said the Head of the OSCE Office in Baku, Luis Herrero Ansola.
Additionally, Herrero highlighted the importance of realizing joint measures to prevent the problem with pollution of the rivers and the Caspian Sea, as well as the cutting down of the forests.
"Ecological problems present a threat to the Country's security," he said.
Some 60% of the Azerbaijan section of the Caspian Sea has become polluted due to the Volga River. Azerbaijan has repeatedly expressed its dissatisfaction to Russia in this regard.
As Armenia and Georgia have not joined the Convention on clean-up of trans-border waters, the Rivers of Kur and Araz have become polluted in these countries. Azerbaijan, who joined the Convention, installed clean-up equipment on the borders with these countries to monitor the pollution level of Kur and Araz.
Last year 31,400 cu.m of Azerbaijani forest area was cut down illegally. The forests make up 11.4% of the Azerbaijani territories.
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