From the talk of President of the Azerbaijan Republic, Heydar Aliyev, with deputy Secretary-‎General of the UNO, Director General of the UNO mission in Austria, Pino Arlakki - Vienna, ‎the building of UNO mission, 7 July, 2000

Pino Arlakki: Mr. President, We are pleased with meeting You here after the meeting held several weeks ago in Tehran. It is great honour for us that You have visited the United Nations Center in Vienna. I am confident that Your visit will become a decisive stage on the path of development of the relations between this Center of the United Nations Organization and your country.

One of the most important objectives standing before our Center is, according to the figurative expression of the Secretary-General, "the struggle with uncivilized society". Speaking of that, the Secretary-General meant the struggle with all the factors damaging stable development of societies, being able to threaten them, in particular, joint struggle with illegal drug trafficking, organized criminality and laundering of "dirty" money.

We work together with the UNO member-states over new strategies and concepts of struggle for the organization of joint battle with new threats, including terror.

All the measures implemented in the UNO member-states in the fields mentioned by me are of importance for us. In this connection, taking the opportunity, I want to congratulate You on the measures You undertake within recent period in your country connected with struggle against corruption, as well as on the occasion of affiliation of Azerbaijan to the Council of Europe. We understand it so that Azerbaijan intends to bring its legislation in the field of struggle against corruption, organized criminality and other dangerous tendencies in line with the international standards.

We can work together with You in these areas. We already have the program, the project which we implement in Caucasia. However if we take into account that your region is situated on the way of transportation of narcotics from Afghanistan to Europe, we can say that we have lot more to do. I think that the joint protocol to be signed today, as well as today's discussions with You will lay the foundation of our fruitful future cooperation.

Heydar Aliyev: Honourable ladies, gentlemen!

I consider the visit to the Center of the United Nations Organization in Vienna an extremely important event for me and for my country.

After gaining state independence, Azerbaijan was recognized straight away by the United Nations Organization and it is a member of the UNO. We appreciate it as one of the most important factors of our independence. We constantly cooperate and will cooperate henceforth with the United Nations Organization.

To tell the truth, some issues in the period of cooperation with the United Nations Organization cause our dissatisfaction. It is connected with the fact that the United Nations Organization cannot take effective decisions in our region towards the settlement of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. As you know, as a result of this conflict, the armed forces of Armenia have occupied 20 percent of the Azerbaijan territory. More than a million Azerbaijanis banished from native hearths have been living in different places of our country in extremely hard conditions for a long time - 6-7 years.

In 1992-1993, when Armenian troops occupied Azerbaijani territories, Azerbaijan appealed to the United Nations Organization. The United Nations Organization considered these appeals in the Security Council four times and may be more. At any case, the Security Council of the United Nations Organization adopted four resolutions on unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from Azerbaijan. The UNO Security Council has also adopted several special statements in this connection.

However Armenia, being a member of the United Nations Organization, fulfilled none of the decisions adopted by the UN Security Council. It comes out that the Security Council passes a decision but does not fulfill it. And this does not do credit to the United Nations Organization.

I have not once given this question to both former Secretary-General, Butros Gali, and present Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. However each time I was responded that there is no mechanism for implementing resolutions and decisions of the Security Council of the United Nations Organization. But if there is no such a mechanism, it should be created. If it is not created, it means that the United Nations Organization is indifferent to the implementation of resolutions adopted by it.

Today I have to speak about it since the situation, which our country turned out to face, obliges me. 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands are still under the occupation by Armenian armed forces. To say the truth, the United Nations Organization has declined this issue in a certain sense and charged the OSCE with it.

The OSCE, which has established the special Minsk Group for the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, has been engaged in this issue since 1992. Russia, the United States of America and France are the co-chairs to the Minsk Group.

In 1994, at the Budapest Summit, in 1996, at the Lisbon Summit of the OSCE, important decisions were adopted for the settlement of this matter. However, as a result of destructive policy of Armenia, these decisions are not fulfilled.

Today the OSCE Minsk Group continues its activity. The Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, Prime Minister of Austria, will visit our region in the nearest future.

As You know, we stopped the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1994, signed the cease-fire agreement and hold the negotiations for the peaceful solution of the issue. However there are no results yet.

Since last year, the number of direct meetings has also taken place between President of Armenia, Robert Kocharian and President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev. These questions were repeatedly discussed with the assistance of President of the USA, Mr. Bill Clinton, they were also discussed with the assistance of new President of Russia, Mr. Putin, as well as with the assistance of President of France, Mr. Jacques Chirac. Nevertheless Azerbaijani lands are still under the occupation by Armenian armed forces. More that a million Azerbaijanis have been living in their country as refugees and displaced people in tents, in hard conditions for already 6-7 years.

I think that the United Nations Organization should approach these questions more attentively. In the present situation the Supreme Commissariat for Refugees of the United Nations Organization and the Supreme Commissariat for Humanitarian Aid of this organization should render more effective aid to the refugees and displaced people of Azerbaijan living in hard conditions. Unfortunately, this aid is gradually decreasing in recent years, on unknown reasons. Such situation disquiets us.

Mr. Arlakki, I know that it is not Your allotted work. But You are the deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization and I am at the UNO Vienna office. I cannot help speaking about it. I hope these words will not remain just information for You, and You, from Your part, will react to my opinion. Saying "You will react" I mean practical actions by the United Nations Organization.

And now we can go on to the basic topic of our today's discussion with You. You have mentioned that Azerbaijan has been implementing all-round practical measures in the field of struggle with drugs, struggle with organized criminality and corruption. I appreciate that You underscore and rate highly the work done by us. We indeed consider the struggle in these areas as an important objective of our state towards protection of our statehood and prevention of these extremely dangerous phenomena in the whole world.

We have undertaken extended measures in the field of struggle with narcotics. In particular, as You know, a special commission headed by a deputy prime minister has been created by my decree. I can say that this commission works actively. We have joined three conventions in the field of struggle with drugs. However our neighbours have not joined these conventions yet.

An important program in the field of struggle with drugs is implemented together with the UNO.

The UNO has carried out practical work for its realization, especially, with our Customs Agency and Interior Ministry. The first part of this program is completed. The United Nations Organization has allocated definite funds for its realization. However I want to inform that the program worked out together with you is implemented and the funds allocated have been used. We want to proceed to the second stage of this program. The United Nations Organization should render financial aid.

You have mentioned that Azerbaijan, according to its geographic location, is situated on the way of drug traffic both from Afghanistan and Central Asia to the West, and from Iran to the North and West. We understand it, take it into consideration and undertake necessary measures. However I want to say that there are no channels similar to other intensive channels for the transportation of drugs to the West neither from Central Asia, Afghanistan nor from Iran across the territory of Azerbaijan.

That is, the work done by us has prevented it. Therefore our territory cannot be used so intensively. It is connected with the fact that we have always taken the most serious measures in this field. The program worked out and implemented together with you has yielded its positive results. However we do not rest on laurels, we take and we will take necessary measures to block these channels.

We struggle with it not only as a transit country for drug transportation, but we also want our citizens not to take drugs in our country. I want to say with deep satisfaction that in comparison with other countries, many countries, may be even with all the countries, the usage of drugs among the population is of a very low rate. We undoubtedly carry out the struggle and protect the health of our population.

About the struggle with organized criminality. The struggle with drugs is certainly its constituent part. However the groups engaged in organized criminality reveal themselves in many other areas. For example terrorism, extremism, separatism. We have always struggled with these phenomena.

As You know, after Azerbaijan gained independence, state independence, internal stability was broken in the country. Both in 1990-1991 and in 1992-1993, illegal armed groups committed the armed coup attempts and terrorist acts in Azerbaijan.

In 1993, the civil war was ongoing in Azerbaijan. We stopped it. After that, armed groups undertook the attempts of armed coups twice. We suppressed them too. However many of those criminals are hiding now in different countries. And do not give up their terrorist intentions.

For instance, in 1995, two hours before President Kuchma and I should have arrived in Baku, it was cleared up that hundred kilograms of trotyl was put under a bridge across the road leading to the airport to blow up the cars and kill both presidents. Our law enforcement bodies worked well and prevented it.

Or in autumn of 1995, when the president of Azerbaijan was coming back from a foreign trip, it was revealed that the president's plane should have been shot down with a missile while landing in the airport. In that case, not law enforcement bodies, but Allah helped us. The planes land in the Bina airport of Baku from two directions. But in most cases they land from the side where the missile was established. The direction of wind changed during our landing and therefore the plane landed not from the side where the missile was installed, but from the other side. However we did not know that we were going to be hit. They just could not release a missile to shoot the plane down. But after some days, we investigated the case and cleared it up. A part of the terrorists was punished. But the rest still hide in other countries.

I want to say that special services of some countries took part in all these cases - the attempts of state coup and terrorist acts. And today, the intentions to commit terrorist acts against us, against the president of Azerbaijan, still tale place.

For example, one of the chieftains of the group, which committed the state coup attempt in 1995, escaped and hid in Austria, in Saltsburg city. He lived here for two years and was granted asylum. We have repeatedly appealed to the Austrian government, however our appeals were not provided.

Then he moved to Iran. He has been uniting terrorist groups around himself and wants to commit a terrorist act against the president of Azerbaijan for two years. The government of Iran does not fulfill our demands either, does not extradite him. Therefore, I was especially protected during my trip to Iran. My guard has been strengthened here too, as we have the information that he will arrive from Iran here. At any case, his family lives in Saltsburg.

Informing You about these facts I want to say that the struggle with organized criminality takes a special place in the politics of our state, because our country is in such a situation.

At the same time, the implacable struggle is carried out with corruption too. In 1997, I issued very serious decrees in this connection and necessary measures were taken, i.e. I issued a decree and a law is being worked up. Our position in this regard is very strict.

Thus, You see that we have experience in these fields. Therefore, if You want to create a bureau on struggle against drugs and organized criminality in Southern Caucasia, and I have heard that You want, it would be useful to establish its headquarters in Baku, in Azerbaijan.

I have told You that we joined the conventions. But we know that as early as 1996, You signed the memorandum on struggle with drugs with the countries of Central Asia. I was informed that this memorandum is of open character and it is possible to join it. Thank You.

Pino Arlakki: Mr. President, thank You very much for the detailed information about the situation in your country. We appreciate You for the information about the measures taken for the solution of the conflict and in the field of struggle with drugs.

The expressions like "transportation of drugs", "terrorism" and "civil wars" have an abstract meaning for many. They know about it only from newspapers and books and hear on television. Most of the people do not understand what a war is, do not imagine how dangerous a terrorist act is for people. But Your personal life and work experience show that how important it is to take a strict position in the struggle with transportation of drugs and terrorism in order to build a powerful state in a country and ensure government in full.

At the beginning of Your speech, You said that the United Nations Organization did not play an efficient role in liquidation of conflicts, in particular, the conflict in your region and the resolutions of the Security Council are not fulfilled. I am aware of this problem of the UNO. I also know about all four resolutions passed in connection with the conflict in your country. Resolutions have been adopted regarding many conflicts and wars, even regarding solution of many issues arising among states, but they have not been fulfilled either.

Mr. President, I want to note that it would be incorrect to explain non-fulfillment of these resolutions by unwillingness of the Secretary-General, whom I represent here, to fulfill them. In other words, both the Secretary-General and his representatives, such as I, do their best to have the resolutions of the Security Council of the UNO fulfilled, to create a mechanism providing their implementation.

But in any case, I will inform the Secretary-General about Your opinion and personally talk with him about our today's meeting. I assure You that we will approach the issue of your country's security with big sensitiveness.

As for the cooperation between the UNO and your country in the field of struggle against drugs, I also want to mention with satisfaction that the first part of the program, which we implement together with your country, is a good ground for even more fruitful cooperation.

The measures taken in your country towards the prevention of transpiration of drugs delivered from Afghanistan and Iran pursue not only the goal to secure the health of your population, but also serve the cause of liquidation of problems of the last destination point of drug delivery, i.e. the European countries. Therefore we, acting together with the countries of Western Europe over the prevention of delivery of drugs, will inform them that Azerbaijan plays here a leading role.

Having signed the Memorandum of understanding we will intensify mutual cooperation even more. We highly appreciate and welcome the desire You stated about today to join the Memorandum signed by us with the countries of Central Asia. We consider that with Azerbaijan's joining the Memorandum of understanding, signed with five Asian countries, the frames of cooperation will widen and it will become complete.

I am hopeful that we can use new opportunities and prospects in other fields too - for example in struggle against terrorism. The department I am in charge of is responsible for struggle against terrorism and now we are establishing a special structure.

One of the tools, which we intend to work out, is providing extradition - transfer of terrorists from one country to another. In Your speech You have given an illustrative example of absence of full cooperation in the struggle against terrorism. Provision of closer cooperation in this field would serve the decrease of the danger You are facing and strengthening of the stability in your country.

Speaking of all this, I want to draw Your attention to the fact that the international cooperation in struggle against terrorism consists of more definite elements. And they are not simply the documents on cooperation worked up by attorneys and lawyers assembling together in one room. Therefore I believe that we can achieve great advancements by working together in many fields including the struggle with organized criminality.

You know very well that terrorism, drug trafficking and organized criminality are closely interrelated with each other. The people belonging to the same group act in this sphere and often the means earned through illegal drug sale are spent on funding definite terrorist acts.

I bring to Your notice that in October, this year, we will hold an international conference in Tashkent devoted to the measures on struggle with drug trafficking. Taking an opportunity I invite You to the international event to take place in Italian Palermo city at the end of the year.

Now we are completing the elaboration of the first stage of the International convention on struggle against organized criminality. This convention will become the most powerful instrument in struggle with organized criminality in all regions of the world. Owing to it, we will be able to provide the confiscation of property of persons involved in organized criminality and their more affective and quick transfer from one country to another.

The action we are to hold in Palermo is scheduled to December 12, it will be organized at the level of government heads. Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, the chairman of European Commission, the president of Italy and many other heads of states gave their consent to participate at this event. If You are also together with us at this important conference having accepted our invitation, You will do us the honour and we will be very pleased.

Heydar Aliyev: I accept it and will come with pleasure.

Pino Arlakki: I assure You that relevant measures will be provided for Your security there. As a person having the similar problems as Yours, I understand what You mean. You and I are the people who were lucky.

Heydar Aliyev: You have also faced alike problems, haven't You?

Pino Arlakki: Yes.

Heydar Aliyev: Then You will understand me well.

Pino Arlakki: If You allow, we will sign the document.

Heydar Aliyev: I want to touch one more issue. You know that the Centre of Space Exploration has been existing in Azerbaijan for a long time. Its employees have participated in the procedures here. They have participated in the UNO conference last year. This work relates to Your sphere of activity.

It will be useful if You personally appoint this organization as the central for the region. We have good experience and scientists in this area. This organization has been functioning as early as the time of the Soviet Union, for twenty years approximately. Therefore, it would be good to expand this cooperation.

Pino Arlakki: Mr. President, I assure You that we will go into this matter. There is also the center engaged in space exploration here and it is subordinated directly to me.

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, therefore I appeal to You.

Pino Arlakki: I will speak with the managers of this center. We will do utmost to provide cooperation with your country in this field. I think we can make use of the experience and services of experts from your country. We will be able to turn Azerbaijan into the center implementing exploration works in the region as it was in former years. 

The "Azerbaijan" newspaper, 14 July, 2000