BAKU [August 27, 2021] On August 26, Perry Baltimore, President and CEO of the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI), signed a Contract and Memorandum of Understanding with Vugar Suleymanov, Chairman of the Mine Action Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (ANAMA), launching a multi-year cooperation effort between the two organizations to help Azerbaijan in its landmine clearance operations. Over the following two years, MLI will provide 30 mine detection dogs (MDDs) to ANAMA to assist with demining efforts in Azerbaijan. The first 10 of these MDDs were delivered to Baku on August 23rd by in-kind contributors Silk Way Airlines and EuroAsia Cargo, who generously covered the transportation costs.
Private donors are sponsoring 18 of these amazing animals and ANAMA will be providing funding for twelve. MLI’s private donors include Leonardo DRS, Tetra Tech, Stephen and Jaqui Edelmann, Pasha Bank, Kapital Bank Azerbaijan, Anglo-Asian Mining PLC, the CHAMPS Connecticut Campaign, and the Joan Wismer Foundation. One of these lifesaving dogs was sponsored by MLI’s supporters during our Virtual 23rd Anniversary Clearing the Path Gala in 2020. MLI thanks the US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and the Embassy of Azerbaijan in the U.S. for their tremendous assistance in our fundraising efforts and support in launching this partnership. MLI plans to send up to eight more dogs this November, and all 30 will arrive by the spring of 2023.
During their visit to Azerbaijan, Mr. Baltimore and Elise Becker, MLI’s Vice President of Operations, also visited ANAMA’s dog training center in Fizuli, where they observed the newly arrived MDDs. The dogs are being paired with local handlers for integration training and certification before deploying to the minefields later this year. Darko Lazarevic, the Master K9 Trainer from MLI’s partner Global Training Academy, is providing initial assistance with these efforts.
Decades of conflict left much of Azerbaijan littered with landmines. Massive contamination in western Azerbaijan pose enormous risks to those engaged in the rehabilitation and reconstruction process. MLI has worked with ANAMA since 2005 to support landmine clearance operations and build ANAMA’s MDD capacity through the provision of 40 lifesaving MDDs that have helped to search and return nearly 30 million square meters of formerly contaminated land to safe and productive use. MLI is looking forward to continuing our long-standing cooperation with ANAMA, and we thank our private donors for their enduring support to help others live free from the fear of mines.
For additional information, contact the Marshall Legacy Institute at (703) 243-9200 or email us at email@example.com.