"We have a lot of work to do there. We need to clear and rebuild more than 10,000 square kilometers. Hundreds of thousands of mines have been planted there, and 140 people have been killed or injured by landmines since the end of the war on 10 November, including two of our journalists. While driving, they hit a mine that was planted after the second Karabakh war ended, when the Armenians were given two weeks to evacuate the area," said President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev answering a question on the reconstruction work in Karabakh at a joint press conference with President of the European Council Charles Michel.
"During the second Karabakh war, Armenia committed other war crimes. They fired on our towns and villages with prohibited ammunition, including white phosphorus shells. This is a proven fact. SCUD, Tochka-U and Iskander-M ballistic missiles were used against our cities and villages, and more than 100 civilians were killed as a result of those war crimes. So we are facing a great challenge and a great task related to the demining and reconstruction of liberated territories. We will do it all. All necessary measures have been taken and funds have been allocated.
As for foreign investment, I think there are several areas that may be of interest to foreign investors. First is renewable energy. Liberated areas have a huge potential, and according to our preliminary estimates, the potential for energy production is 5,000 megawatts of solar and 1,000 megawatts of wind energy.
Another potential area for investment is agriculture and the processing of agricultural products. Because the soil is very fertile there, and this can be attractive to foreigners. I think that another area could be tourism, although Armenia has caused great damage to our nature in the occupied territories. I can cite an example. The area of forests in the liberated territories used to be 230,000 hectares. Today, according to satellite observations, forests cover an area of 170,000 hectares. In other words, 60,000 hectares of forests have been destroyed. Our lakes and rivers have been polluted, and we have already appealed to international organizations.
At the same time, legal proceedings have been launched against foreign companies engaged in illegal economic activities in the occupied territories, pollution of our rivers, causing damage to our nature and illegally plundering our natural resources, including gold and other precious metals. So tourism can be an attractive area for foreign investment. Despite all this environmental damage, Karabakh and East Zangazur are the most beautiful regions not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the whole region. I do hope that foreign investors will take into account the favorable investment climate in Azerbaijan. According to the World Bank's Doing Business report, Azerbaijan ranks 28th in the world in terms of business environment, and foreign investments are securely protected in Azerbaijan. I hope that foreign companies seriously consider this issue," added President Ilham Aliyev