If there are any ways the international community can help Azerbaijan with the demining in the liberated territories, those able to do so certainly should, former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert Cekuta told Trend.
He expressed concerns for those injured as a result of mine explosion and hopes for their rehabilitation and quick recovery.
“It is both very dangerous and very important work, but I know from my time in Azerbaijan that there is a great degree of professional competence in Azerbaijan there when it comes to demining. I remember meeting with ANAMA [now Azerbaijan’s Mine Action Agency] on my first trip to Ganja after arriving as Ambassador,” said Cekuta.
He pointed out that mines and other unexploded ordinance are a problem in many countries around the world -- in Egypt, for example, which is perhaps the most mined country in the world, in the western Balkans, and even in parts of Western Europe.
“The authorities and experts dealing with the dangers of the unexploded ordinance left after a conflict absolutely need to share knowledge and experience with each other so everyone can better address the threats these deadly materials pose,” noted Cekuta.
Richard Hoagland, the former co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group from the US, believes it’s time for the international community to establish a convention banning the use of landmines.
“The sad truth is that demining after a conflict is a long and inevitably imprecise operation, and people and people and their animals will continue to be killed. Even the most accurate landmine maps do not perfectly pinpoint every landmine. There are exceptionally skilled demining groups like the Halo Trust, but even they don’t always find every single mine. Perhaps it’s time for the international community to establish a convention banning the use of landmines. This would be an uphill battle, but it’s certainly worth considering,” he added.