Prisoners of the Caucasus: How Nagorno-Karabakh’s Minefield Crisis Holds the Peace Process Hostage

Since the end of the first Nagorno-Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1994,
landmines and unexploded ordinance continue to directly impact the livelihoods and health
of Armenians and Azerbaijanis. The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh – the major impediment
to peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan – began in 1988 when the parliament of the
Autonomous Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh voted to secede from the Azerbaijani Soviet
Socialist Republic to join the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Low-intensity violence
flared up into open warfare between Armenia and Azerbaijan following the collapse of the
Soviet Union, with Armenian forces occupying Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding
Azerbaijani districts. The territories are still contaminated by anti-personnel and anti-tank
mines, as well as unexploded ordinance from bombs and cluster munitions used by both
sides.

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Azerbaijan Field Visit After the Second Karabakh War


Representatives of the International Conflict Resolution Center traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan to gather information about the history of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; the ongoing issues and relations between Armenia, Azerbaijan, third countries, and the international community; and the reconstruction efforts that will take place in the territories reclaimed by Azerbaijan during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. The delegates of the organization met with representatives of both governmental and non-governmental organizations in the capital city of Baku. Members of the International Conflict Resolution Center met with the leaders of the Azerbaijani Community of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Vice-Chairman of the Russian Community of Azerbaijan, the leadership of the Center of Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center), officials from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Hikmet Hajiyev, the Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Head of the Foreign Policy Affairs Department of the Presidential Administration. For the second part of the field visit, the representatives traveled to regions in the western parts of Azerbaijan to meet with regional officials. Regional officials in the cities of Ganja and Tartar coordinated visits for the representatives to observe damages inflicted during the war. These territories were located within the internationally-recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan, located far away from the conflict zone. The representatives of the
International Conflict Resolution Center concluded their visit by visiting Aghdam with a military escort, a city that was decimated by Armenian forces during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war between 1988 and 1994.

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