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Azerbaijani Environmental Activists Protest Russian Peace Keepers in Karabakh

“Azerbaijan’s natural resources are being exploited and sent away to Armenia and Russia”

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Azerbaijani journalist and lawyer Orkhan Amashov spoke about the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijani natural resources by members of the Russian Peace Keeping Forces together with the Armenian Armed Forces. (Screencap: AZ.TV)

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For two days in a row, environmental activists and NGOs protested against the Russian Peace Keeping Forces in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

They demanding an end to the illegal exploitation of Azerbaijani natural resources such as copper and gold by members of the Russian Peace Keeping Forces together with the Armenian Armed Forces. The protests, which are taking place along the Lachin Corridor outside of the city of Shusha, came after Armenian Forces in the region blocked Azerbaijan from carrying out ecological monitoring in the areas of Karabakh that are controlled by the Russian Peace Keepers.

In an exclusive interview, Azerbaijani journalist Orkhan Amashov proclaimed that around 700 people including many Azerbaijani youth presently in the Shusha area, protesting against the Russian Peace-Keeping Forces, representing at least 10 and 11 Azerbaijani environmental organizations: “The numbers are increasing with people from all walks of life coming.” 

The protesters are demanding that Andrey Volkov, the Commander of the Russian Peace Keeping Contingent, or another high-level commander visit the site of the protests, and that Azerbaijani specialists be granted access to all mines under the control of the Russian Peace Keeping Forces.

Amashov claimed that so far, the protests have been peaceful, but that the Russian Peace Keepers have been unresponsive and refuse to reply to the questions posed by the protesters.  

“The situation is very bad,” he proclaimed. “We got evidence that Azerbaijan’s gold, copper and other natural resources are being exploited by the forces inside the Russian Peace Keeping Contingent. It is very clear that this is impunity and that something must be done about it. The fact that the Lachin Corridor is currently under the control of the Russian Peace Keepers is one of the most important factors. This corridor connects the zone controlled by the Russian Peace Keeping Forces and Armenia, and it is not properly controlled.”  

Amashov claimed that there is mounting evidence that “Azerbaijan’s natural resources are being exploited and sent away to Armenia and Russia, and the Russian Peace Keeping Forces do not want to do anything about it. They have a clear responsibility to make sure that Azerbaijan’s natural resources are not being exploited and they have absolutely no desire to change their mind… Azerbaijan’s natural resources are being depleted and used, and there is no environmental controls overseeing how these resources are being exploited. It is the misuse of the nation’s ecological resources.”  

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He claims that there is a body of evidence suggesting that there is a joint business venture “of the chief of command of the Russian Peace Keeping Contingent and the so-called Armenian Forces, which have not left the area despite Article 4. So, there is a mercantile interest of the Russian side in perpetuating this exploitation of Azerbaijani natural resources, which makes Azerbaijanis very worried. They understand that the Russians do not accept responsibility and act with impunity, and also they are financially interested in the exploitation, as money is being funneled into their pockets.”

According to Amashov, “When you are carrying out the exploitation of natural resources and there is no proper control over what is happening, I would expect even under a normal situation the environmental situation would be worse. So naturally, when you have ecological terrorism and impunity in these areas, I suppose it will be worse.” 

In conclusion, Amashov declared that the protesters will stay in the area as long as it takes to meet their objectives: “It is pivotal that Azerbaijani state bodies be able to enter the zone of the Russian Peace Keeping Forces and conduct ecological monitoring of these resources.  Once Azerbaijani authorities can conduct proper monitoring, they will be able to make a proper evaluation. The main idea is to let Azerbaijanis do that because there was an agreement between the Russian Peace Keeping Forces and the Azerbaijanis that Azerbaijan would be able to carry out such monitoring, but the Armenian Forces foiled Azerbaijani attempts. That is part of the fury. They are furious because Azerbaijan cannot carry out ecological monitoring in its own sovereign territory. They want a breakthrough in that regard.”  

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.” 

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

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