Politico: Azerbaijan grappled with reconstruction in one of world’s most densely mined areas

    POLITICS  02 December 2022 - 09:43

    Mat Whatley, a British army veteran and the former head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Donetsk, Ukraine, the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia,  and an OSCE spokesman in former Yugoslavia in his article “The West’s consensus for a Ukraine Marshall plan is wrong", touched upon the issue of mines in the East of Ukraine and drew attention to the fact that Azerbaijan is a leader in the fight against this problem.

    According to Whatley, who criticized in his article, published by Politico, the “Marshall Plan” proposed by the West to restore Ukraine, said money is not able to solely push such a plan to work.

    "Throwing money at the problem, as America did in postwar Europe, won’t work — a fact borne out by recent experiences in the Caucasus after Azerbaijan regained control of the Karabakh region and more of its sovereign territory, which was illegally occupied by neighbouring Armenia for a generation," he wrote.

    "Over the last two years, Azerbaijan has grappled with reconstruction in one of the world’s most densely mined areas, as decontaminating the lands returned to them has been a priority: It lay the way for the return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons who were forced from their homes. And as their resettlement has become a point of national pride, the government has thrown its national reserves at it."

    Whatley added that however, demining is expensive, labour intensive and painstakingly slow, and given the lengthy training involved, scaling up capacity has proved challenging. Since Azerbaijan liberated the region two years ago, 514 square kilometres — that’s one-and-a-half times the global rate in 2020 — has been cleared. This is progress. But 11,270 square kilometres remain, according to the author.

    "This makes clear the enormity of the challenge that soon faces our Ukrainian friends, with more than 10 times the contaminated land mass found in Karabakh," he wrote, adding without clearing Ukraine of the explosive remnants of war, the country’s reconstruction and integration into the European and global economy will be hampered.

    Caliber.Az

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