Published On: Sat, Jul 31st, 2021

Azerbaijan: US, EU, Regional Players Should Be Proactive In Post-Conflict Development

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By Jan Ellen

ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – Ever since the previous conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia was resolved, Azerbaijan has expressed its hope that the U.S. and the EU will play a more active role in the post-conflict development and reconstruction. U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Phillip T. Reeker made a recent visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan prior to the announcement on June12 of a deal between the two countries to exchange mine maps with detainees. Analysts say this shows the U.S. desire to play a proactive role in regional affairs.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s reaction to the announcement on Twitter was that “the U.S. welcomes the release by Azerbaijan of 15 Armenian detainees. We are grateful to the Government of Georgia for its vital role in facilitating discussions between the sides. Such steps will bring the people of the region closer to the peaceful future they deserve.” Though Blinken left out the issue of landmines in his comment – a statement by the U.S. State Department welcomed Armenia’s decision to share information on landmines with Azerbaijan.

The deal made between Armenia and Azerbaijan announced by Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 12, precipitated Azerbaijan’s comment that they consider the conflict between the two countries a thing of the past. The deal included an exchange of 15 Armenian detainees for a map of 97,000 anti-tank, anti-personnel mines planted by occupying Armenian forces in Azerbaijan’s Aghdam region during the last 30 years. The exchange happened on the Azerbaijan-Georgia border with representatives of Georgia present. On July 3, Armenia submitted maps of another 92,000 mines to Azerbaijan that were planted during the occupation of Fuzuli and Zangilan districts. The Russian Federation was instrumental in facilitating that deal.

Despite the gestures of goodwill between the two sides, experts and some international organizations pointed out that there are still reservations about intentions from the Armenian side related to transparency about the maps that need to be overcome by reconciliation efforts with the assistance of the international community.

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