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U.N. General Assembly calls for U.N. to assist in preventing environmental damage from fires in Nagorno Karabakh

08 September 2006 [09:41] - TODAY.AZ
The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for the U.N. to urgently assist in preventing environmental damage from fires in the disputed territory of Nagorno Karabakh.

Armenia disassociated itself from the resolution, which was approved Thursday without a vote, and expressed concern at its title, "the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan."

The mountainous territory in Azerbaijan has been controlled - along with some surrounding areas - by Karabakh and Armenian forces since 1994. Nagorno Karabakh has been governed by a shaky cease-fire that in 1994 ended a six-year separatist war.

The resolution stressed "the necessity to urgently conduct an environmental operation to suppress the fires." It took note of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's intention to organize a mission to the region to assess the short-term and long-term impact of the fires.

Nagorno Karabakh is inside Azerbaijan, but is populated mostly by ethnic Armenians, who have run it and seven contiguous districts since the 1994 truce. Sporadic border clashes regularly break out and the unresolved conflict has held up development in the strategic region.

Azerbaijan's U.N. Ambassador Yashar Aliyev introduced the draft resolution, saying that in early June Azerbaijan registered massive fires in the eastern part of the territory occupied by Armenia, and by August the fire had damaged more than 600 square kilometers.

After the vote, he thanked everyone who supported the resolution, expressing dismay that Armenia disassociated itself from the text which had been negotiated with its diplomats over 48 hours. As a minimum, he said, it was "honest and appropriate."

Armenia's U.N. Ambassador Armen Martirosyan said that although he supported the content of the resolution, he had serious problems with its title and opposed bringing any Nagorno Karabakh issue to the United Nations.

U.S. deputy ambassador Alejandro Wolff, speaking on behalf of the OSCE group dealing with the Nagorno Karabakh issue - the U.S., France and Russia - said the three countries remain committed to promoting a peaceful, negotiated solution to the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Associated Press

/The International Herald Tribune/


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