An incident in Nagorno-Karabakh has left three local staff of the international humanitarian organisation Halo Trust, dead and two seriously wounded. The incident occured on Thursday morning (29 March). Armenian sources say that the incident happened when an off-road vehicle exploded on a landmine near the town of Martakert. The same sources quote the Halo Trust as saying that their staff members were in a vehicle conducting a survey at the time of the explosion. Details of the incident are still coming in.
Land mines are a huge problem in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone affecting communities on both sides of the line of contact.
On its website the Halo Trust says that since the year 2000 "it has been the only agency clearing the minefields and cluster munition strikes in Nagorno Karabakh resulting from the Karabakh war and that it is one of the largest civilian employers in the country, with 140 Karabakhi Armenian staff. We recruit and train local men and women to clear the minefields that affect their communities".
The Halto Trust website says that their "only major donor in Karabakh was the US Government, through USAID, but its funding is restricted to land within the Soviet boundary of the autonomous oblast of Nagorno Karabakh."
source; commonspace.eu with Armenian media and halotrust.org
photo: A staff member of the Halo Trust neutralising a mine in Nagorno-Karabakh (archive picture)
Baku softened its rhetoric on Karabakh following the velvet revolution in Armenia. Nikol Pashinyan's statements however have disappointed Baku at a time when its room for manoeuvre is limited.
In the address on the occasion of the Novruz holiday the president of Azerbaijan said his country has entered a new period of reforms. "Reforms will be further deepened. There is no alternative to that. Political reforms, economic reforms, reforms in the social sphere, reforms in the judicial system"