News / Europe

    Nagorno Karabakh Cleans Up Old Conflict, Fears New One

    Nagorno-Karabakh Cleans Up from Old War, Fearing a New Conflicti
    X
    June 20, 2013 10:57 PM
    At this week’s G-8 summit, the leaders of France, Russia and the United States called for a peaceful resolution of the long running dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh. James Brooke visits this remote region and reports on this frozen conflict.
    James Brooke
    At this week’s G8 summit, the leaders of France, Russia and the United States called for a peaceful resolution to the long running dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.
     
    Almost 20 years after fighting stopped over Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh province, this mountainous land still holds its deadly secrets - anti-tank mines, anti-personnel mines and cluster bombs.

    Nick Smart, Nagorno-Karabakh program manager for Halo Trust, leads a team of 190 men demining this remote province, an area controlled for almost a quarter century by ethnic Armenians.

    "We are still 20 years on and finding perfectly functioning mines that are still killing people," Smart said of his work that is largely supported by money from USAID. "The ones that we are finding that are in good order are in very good order, you know, and probably will remain so for another 10 years."

    Since the year 2000, Halo has cleared 75 percent of known minefield and cluster bomb areas in Nagorno-Karabakh. Experts have discovered and detonated about 66,000 bombs.

    But the walls of Halo’s office display photos of villagers who are amputees.

    With only 160,000 inhabitants, Nagorno-Karabakh still has one of the world’s highest per capita rates for mine accidents.

    "The biggest problem remains in these green areas, these areas outside of traditional Karabakh," said Smart. "Now this is fertile farmland, strategically important during the war, but now remains very attractive farm land to the rural communities."

    In Nagorno-Karabakh, lowland farming fields inevitably stretch toward security zones, where armed Azeris and armed Armenians face each other across trench lines.

    On Tuesday at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, the leaders of Russia, France, and the United States urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to abstain from war and to find a peaceful solution. But also on Tuesday, Russia’s Vedemosti newspaper reported that Russia is selling $1 billion in tanks, artillery and rocket launchers to Azerbaijan.

    In Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, Richard Giragosian directs the Regional Studies Center, a think tank. He worries about the fragile peace.
     
    "We have our own arms race in this region, where both sides are compelled to keep pace with increasing defense budgets, as well as procurement of more offensive weapons," he said.

    • Halo Trust, a U.S- supported charity, clears land mines and cluster bombs left over from the 1992-1994 war. (U. Filimonova/VOA)
    • Halo Trust workers plot locations of unexploded ordinance -- still deadly after 20 years. (U. Filimonova/VOA)
    • A portable display teaches children and farmers what landmines and hand grenades look like. (U. Filimonova/VOA)
    • Banners mark 25th anniversary of the 1988 vote by Soviet of People's Deputies of Karabakh to secede from Azerbaijan. (U. Filimonova/VOA)
    • Stepanakert's abandoned rail station is a reminder of Soviet days when trains descended the mountains daily. Now this route east is blocked by the 1994 ceasefire line separating Azeri and Armenian soldiers. (U. Filimonova)
    • In Shushi, the twin minarets of an abandoned mosque are reminders that this mountaintop city violently changed hands between Muslim Azeris and Christian Armenians several times during the 20th century. (U. Filimonova)
    • Agriculture remains the backbone of Nagorno-Karabakh's economy. But old land mines often block farmers from the best fields. (U. Filimonova/VOA)
    • At Stepanakert's Griboedova Middle School No. 3 boys know that obligatory military service faces them at age 18. (U. Filimonova/VOA)
    • As life in Stepanakert returns to normal, Armenian women catch up over lunch at an Italian restaurant, located across the street from a bombed out building. (U. Filimonova)
    • Shrouded in mists, Nagorno-Karabakh, or mountainous Karabakh, is a breakaway region of Azerbaijan, controlled for the last 20 years by ethnic Armenians. (U. Filimonova/VOA)

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora