Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry: 261,000 hectares of forest areas were destroyed in the Armenia-occupied territories

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Press Service of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement on international day for preventing the exploitation of the environment in war and armed conflict.

The statement says: “The UN General Assembly declared November 6 as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict.

As the consequences of the military aggression of Armenia, the nature of the Republic of Azerbaijan, its biodiversity and the ecological situation in the region as a whole has been seriously affected, which resulted in the environmental degradation and constant exploitation of the region’s natural resources.

Currently, 261.000 hectares of forested areas, natural monuments and 145 codificated Eastern Sycamore trees in the Armenia-occupied territories have been destroyed. At the same time, most of the plant and animal species included in the “Red Book of the Republic of Azerbaijan”, special and protected natural areas, as well as rare biodiversity patterns were destructed in these areas.

Natural water sources passing through the occupied territories are exposed to large-scale pollution from the side of Armenia. Due to Armenia’s extreme pollution of Okhchuchay and Aghstafachay, the inflows of the Araz and Kura rivers, there is a serious threat to the wildlife in these rivers. The occupying forces use the Sarsang reservoir, which is built on Tartar River in order to irrigate more than 100,000 hectares of arable lands, to threaten 400,000 people living in the foothills and plane areas. By deliberate opening and closing of the dams they create artificial floods in the winter season and droughts in the summer months. It is no coincidence that the resolution entitled “Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water” adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2016, contains clear demand concerning the immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the mentioned region and investigation by independent engineers and hydrologists to be ensured.

163 mineral deposits, including gold, mercury, copper, plumbum, zinc, coal and other resources are being plundered by Armenia in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. During the exploitation of the natural resources in the occupied territories, the ecological standards are not complied with, and consequently, the environment is seriously damaged.”

“The policy of Armenia exploiting environmental and natural resources in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan despite the relevant provisions of international law and international commitments of this country once again demonstrates clearly its indifferent and non-constructive position towards the region’s sustainable development and progress.

The international community, especially countries whose physical and legal persons are involved directly or indirectly in the illegal activities and exploitation of natural resources and environment in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan should refrain from any kind of assistance to the continuation of this serious violation of international law,” the ministry’s press service concludes.