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Support to the Global War on Terror
The scourge of terrorism is not a new phenomenon for Azerbaijan as she has experienced this phenomenon long before the 11 September 2001 events. There are documented facts about terrorists activities carried out within the territory of Azerbaijan as well as the neighbor countries and claimed thousands of innocent human lives.
Azerbaijan spares no efforts to make a tangible contribution to the effective counter-terrorism efforts. Following the terrorist attacks against the United States, Azerbaijan has been firmly and promptly acting for making her contribution to the global campaign against international terrorism. Responding to the calls of the international community, Azerbaijan has opened its air space and airports for the use of the anti-terrorist coalition in the fight against Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Azerbaijan contributes to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) with 1 platoon.
Azerbaijan adopted a package of legislative measures aimed at bringing the relevant legislation of Azerbaijan into the line with international legal instruments in the field of preventing and suppressing acts of terrorism as well as the use of the financial-banking systems for financing such acts:
Azerbaijan has acceded to all 12 international conventions on counter-terrorism.
As for the executive machinery, counter-terrorism activities are carried out through bilateral and multilateral cooperation among various national agencies. The law-enforcement and intelligence bodies, namely the Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Interior and State Border Control have the leading role in combating terrorism derived from their primary responsibility to ensure security and stability within the country. In particular, they are engaged in implementing necessary measures to:
The Ministry of National Security consistently cooperates with other states' special services in suppressing the scourge of terrorism. As the result of this fruitful cooperation about 40 terrorists have been extradited to their national governments for the last 3 years.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs fulfills its coordinating role in the anti-terrorism campaign cooperating with the National Bank, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Interior, State Customs Committee, and State Border Guard Service. Azerbaijan undertook necessary measures to identify, freeze accounts of individuals and entities included in the 1267 UNSC Committee's Consolidated List of terrorist groups and organizations.
At the same time, along with suppressing the scourge of terrorism, the problem of terrorist financing and money laundering is taking on a special significance. In Azerbaijan one of the leading government agencies to fight terrorism financing is the National Bank. Consequently, measures continue to be implemented to promote adoption by Azerbaijan's banking system of international standards. As the result of the scrutinized work of the National Bank along with the Ministry of Justice, the account of "Benevolence International Foundation" and "Global Relief Foundation", organizations designated in the 1267 UNSC Committee's Consolidated List were identified and immediately frozen.
Azerbaijan also reinforces the regional cooperation through signing the bi-, tri- and multilateral agreements and participation in the activities of certain regional organizations (OSCE, EAPC, OIC and others).
Azerbaijan makes its contribution to the counter-terrorism efforts within various regional organizations such as GUUAM, Council of Europe, BSEC, CIS etc. Information and expertise sharing between Azerbaijani government agencies and their foreign counterparts is one of the main "wires" of such cooperation.
Acting as a chair of the GUUAM Working Group on the struggle against terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking, Azerbaijan represented GUUAM at the special meeting of the UN CTC with international, regional and sub regional organizations on 6 March 2003. Summary report of the GUUAM activities and experience in the area of counter-terrorism with the indication of future projects and plans has been submitted to the CTC special meeting.
Azerbaijan also hosted a number of international conferences and other events on anti-terrorism, for instance, 2002 OSCE Conference on "The Role of Religion and Belief in a Democratic Society: Searching for ways to Combat Terrorism and Extremism", 2003 NATO/EAPC seminar "Links amongst terrorism, drugs smuggling and other illegal activities" etc. The 1st National Workshop on Implementation of the UNSCR 1373 held in Baku on 30 April 2003 within the OSCE ODIHR project "Counter-Terrorism in the Caucasus and Central Asia".
One of the major hurdles to counter terrorism in Azerbaijan is the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. This "grey zone" controlled by Armenian armed forces is beyond national and international surveillance and actively used by terrorists, organized crime syndicates and illegal drug dealers. While assessing the threat of terrorism and searching for ways of effectively addressing this scourge there is a clear need also to focus on the issue of relationship between conflicts and terrorism.
Support to Operation Enduring Freedom
Aiming to develop a capability to support efforts of the international community in the provision of international peace and security a Republic of Azerbaijan undertook to set up well-trained and properly equipped peacekeeping units. Thus, a peacekeeping company within Azerbaijani Armed Forces was established in 1997 in order to be able to contribute in practical terms to the ongoing peacekeeping operations. In 2001, the peacekeeping company was developed into battalion level.
Cooperation with NATO through Partnership for Peace Program to a greater extent has helped to enhance peacekeeping capabilities of these forces and to train them in accordance with NATO standards and to increase the level of interoperability with the Allied forces.
Currently more than 200 Azerbaijani peacekeepers are serving in three different international peace operations shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts from many other countries for the sake of peace and security.
Azerbaijan's determination to participate closely in the anti-terrorist coalition was followed by the decision to join with peacekeeping platoon to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) consisting of 21 soldiers, one officer and one NCO in November 2002 with the aim of contributing to provision of peace, security and order in Afghanistan. Currently total number of Azerbaijani peacekeepers contributing to ISAF is 22 (one officer, one warrant officer and 20 soldiers). Recently, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan; Mr. Ilham Aliyev declared that Azerbaijan is going to increase the number of its peacekeepers in Afghanistan.
Support to Operation Iraqi Freedom
Participation Of The Republic Of Azerbaijan In The Activities Within The Framework Of The PFP Program
The Republic of Azerbaijan on May 4, 1994 joined the NATO "Partnership for Peace" program.
In April 1996 the President of Republic of Azerbaijan submitted the Presentation Document of the Republic to the NATO Secretary General.
The Individual Partnership Program is worked out and approved annually. In order to achieve a closer coordination with NATO a Liaison officer of Azerbaijan and Military Representative of Armed Forces have been sent to the Partnership Coordination Cell (PCC) in Mons and NATO HQ in Brussels.
In accordance with the individual Partnership Program the military servicemen of the Republic of Azerbaijan participate in various courses on peacekeeping, European security and cooperation, arms control, crisis management, environmental protection, development of integration and in other that are run in military schools, colleges and other NATO institutions.
Officers of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan take part in planning preparation and conduct of various multinational exercises devoted to training for peacekeeping, humanitarian and other operations.
A special NATO / PFP Department and National NATO / PFP training center have been set up in Armed Forces of Azerbaijan.
A peacekeeping company has been established in the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan. Since 1999 a peacekeeping platoon of Azerbaijan Armed Forces has been participating in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo within KFOR.
Close contacts have been established with NATO school in Oberomergau, the US Marshall Center in Garmish-Partenkirhen (Germany), NATO Defence College in Rome (Italy), PFP training centre in Turkey.
Prospects for Development of cooperation with NATO
The cooperation is strengthening and developing in the following areas:
SNR and LNOs
Army Major Shiraliyev E. SNR Azerbaijan
Army Captain Ahmadov R. LNO Iraq
Navy Lieutenant Mammadov R. LNO Afghanistan