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Inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water, PACE says

The inhabitants of frontier regions of Azerbaijan are deliberately deprived of water, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly said today. The lack of regular maintenance work for over 20 years on the Sarsang reservoir, located in one of the areas of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, “poses a danger to the whole border region”.

Adopting a resolution based on a report prepared by Milica Markovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina, SOC), the parliamentarians emphasised that the state of disrepair of the Sarsang dam could result in a “major disaster with great loss of human life” and possibly a fresh humanitarian crisis.

In view of this urgent humanitarian problem, the Assembly requested “the immediate withdrawal of Armenian armed forces from the region concerned”, thus allowing access by independent engineers and hydrologists to carry out a detailed on-the-spot survey and international supervision of the irrigation canals, the state of the Sarsang and Madagiz dams, the schedule of water releases during the autumn and winter, and aquifer overexploitation.

The parliamentarians called on the Armenian authorities to cease using water resources “as tools of political influence or an instrument of pressure”, benefiting only one of the parties to the conflict.

They called on all sides concerned to step up their efforts to co-operate closely in the joint management of the resources of the Sarsang water reservoir as a confidence-building measure.