Politico writes about Azerbaijan’s success in demining

14:00 | 02.12.2022
British army veteran and former head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Donetsk Mat Whatley in his article "The West’s consensus for a Ukraine Marshall plan is wrong” raised the issue of minefields in the Eastern European country and drew attention to the fact that Azerbaijan is a leader in the fight against this problem, reported from the his article published in the Politico.

If solely based on money, a new "Marshall plan” for Ukraine simply won’t work. Yet, this is the consensus among Western nations, which not only misjudged the real scale of the war and its world-wide impact, but now stand to misapply the wrong lessons from the history of post-conflict reconstruction, according to the article.

"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 neighboring Armenia for a generation.”

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.

However, demining is expensive, labor 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 kilometers - that’s one-and-a-half times the global rate in 2020 - has been cleared. This is progress. But 11,270 square kilometers remain. 

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.”

The Marshall Plan, also known as the European Recovery Program, was a US program providing aid to Western Europe following the devastation of World War II. 

It was enacted in 1948 and provided more than $15 billion to help finance rebuilding efforts on the continent. The brainchild of US Secretary of State George C. Marshall, for whom it was named, it was crafted as a four-year plan to reconstruct cities, industries and infrastructure heavily damaged during the war and to remove trade barriers between European neighbors - as well as foster commerce between those countries and the United States.

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