Speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with the administration of the Ministry of National Security and the heads of border guards - Presidential Palace, March 6, 2002

During the meeting with you last August we talked in detail about the history, traditions and objectives of Border Guards of Azerbaijan. After the restoration of the national independence of Azerbaijan in 1991, the border guards were established in Azerbaijan and they have been standing on guard of our borders for ten years.

The national border of any country is a major factor of its independence. Therefore, you are naturally well aware of the importance of the orders for each country and their protection for the independence of the country and the existence of the people. Today, you have all necessary opportunities for the performance of these tasks.

From the information provided by the commander of the border guards, it is obvious that last year you could do a lot of work and achieved some success. However, there are still failures and shortcomings in your work. Your task is to overcome these shortcomings, to improve your work, strengthen the border security and both physical and moral health of the personnel of the border guards in 2002.

Border Guards of Azerbaijan is young, as well as the national independence of Azerbaijan. Over the years, some work has been done on the formation of the Border Guards. Thanks to it, we have border guards and necessary material and technical basis for their work today. However, it is not enough for the complete protection of the borders of Azerbaijan. Primarily, for the protection of the border there is a need for professionals. It is still understaffed, especially officers.

You are well aware, of the percentage of the equipped officers. I also know the number, but I do not want to declare it. When I got acquainted with these figures, I thought over it once more that it is a huge obstacle in achieving the required level of our border forces. To overcome this situation we need to take very serious steps. The work that has been done did not bring the desired results. That is, the volume of this work could not bring the desired result. Thus, today I asked the Minister of National Security Namiq Abbasov to prepare proposals. We need to consider, approve and implement a plan of specific measures for training officers for the next five years. Indeed, all of this will require additional funds. But we are willing to allocate the funds. Because if the formation of the officer corps of the border guards will be carried out at a pace, it will take a lot of time. However, you cannot tolerate such a situation.

Strengthening the material and technical base of the Border Guards is also one of the main conditions. Today it is provided. But I think it is not enough. We need to take necessary steps in this direction as well. Along with that, your main objectives are to educate and train the personnel of the Border Guards and to ensure their loyalty to the principles of statehood and independence of Azerbaijan. I would like to hope that in 2002 you will implement these tasks.

You face an extremely important problem from the point of view of the protection of the borders. You are well aware of these problems. However, I would like to highlight some of them. The first one is the struggle against international terrorism. It has always been an urgent task. However, after the devastating terrorist attacks in the United States of America, New York, on September 11, last year, it revealed once more that there is a threat of international terrorism for humanity and all over the world and, of course, in connection with it the struggle against international terrorism must to be strengthened.

It is possible that the geographical position of Azerbaijan is attractive for the implementation of the activities of certain forces of international terrorism. The materials received by you, the Ministry of National Security and Border Guards, retention of individual terrorists, criminals, the investigation of their cases showed that, in this sense, Azerbaijan is a target for international terrorism. It is also a bridge for the transition of international terrorism in other countries. Therefore, it is necessary to take all of this into account and the fight against international terrorism must be your primary concern.

Preventing the drug trafficking is one of extremely important tasks along with the border security. Unfortunately, the trafficking of drugs from the neighboring countries and the countries neighboring with them to the north and the west continues. We must prevent it. First of all, Azerbaijan as a transit country is favorable for trafficking drugs. Secondly, drug usage in Azerbaijan, unfortunately, has increased slightly. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent the supply of drugs from foreign countries in Azerbaijan.

You should conduct a serious fight against smuggling. Thus, strengthening our borders and customs are the basic conditions for the commercial turnover of Azerbaijan. We need to ensure it all. The expansion of smuggling causes considerable damage to the foreign commercial turnover of Azerbaijan and our economy. Therefore, you should seriously be engaged in this issue. Unfortunately, in the recent years, unknown people from different countries crossing the border settled in Azerbaijan. Taking the advantage of some opportunities, they became permanent residents in Azerbaijan. It is dangerous for the present and future of Azerbaijan. We cannot afford the unknown people from a different country to settle in Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, many of them are criminals or likely to commit crimes. Therefore, they are extremely dangerous. It should be prevented.

You have a lot of problems. I just tell you about it. Because, all this is important today. To ensure all this, it is necessary for the personnel of the Border Guards to be loyal to Azerbaijan, constantly work on themselves, to develop their professionalism, gain expertise and faithfully serve the Azerbaijani government.

We believe that the Border Guards take an important position in the armed forces of Azerbaijan and we are constantly engaged in the activities of the border guards. Therefore, I took the advantage of discussions held on the results of the year and invited you to this meeting. First, I wanted to meet you. Secondly, I wanted to give you some advice.

I hope that you will be faithful to the Azerbaijani borders and will do everything possible for the development and strengthening the service of border guards of Azerbaijan. I wish you success in your future work.

I do not want to keep you anymore. Go and get engaged in your work. I repeat once more that my primary goal was to meet you and let you know that the President of Azerbaijan pays great attention to the border guards and cares of them. Thank you.