Speech of the Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev at the 32nd session of the UN subcommittee on ‎the control of illegal drugs turnover in the Middle East and the related problems - Baku, "Gulustan" ‎palace, February 17, 1997‎

Ladies and gentlemen, dear guests!

I welcome you, participants of the 32nd session of the countries of the Middle East organized under auspices of the UN program on the drugs control. I wish you successes in this important work.

The control over drugs, the struggle against drug addiction and drug business became a global problem in the end of this century. Every country, every nation fights this problem for the sake of its physical and psychical health. Taking this into consideration the control over drugs and struggle against drug addiction and drug business are carried out within the national program in the Republic of Azerbaijan and we pay special attention to this. From this viewpoint, we highly appreciate the organization of the international discussion within this session dedicated to these problems in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, and we attach special significance to it. We consider that organization of this session will help to struggle against this problem in the countries of the Middle East.

This problem, causing anxiety in every country, has become also an inter-state problem. Therefore, I think that discussions within this session, started proposals and adopted decisions will promote the settlement of this problem in each country, in particular, in the Middle East, in the world, and also will result in strengthening of struggle against drug addiction and drug business.

This problem has multiple facets. In Azerbaijan we take necessary and thorough measures for its settlement. We think that for prevention of the drug addiction in every country it is necessary first of all to take serious organizational and prophylactic measures, carry out elucidatory work. The bodies of public health and propaganda must reveal in details the threat of drug addiction for people, mankind and society and everything should be done for protecting people of this malady.

Despite of strengthening of attention to this problem and taken measures, the scale of the drug addiction increases which is proved by world statistics. We are witnessing the spreading of this malady in Azerbaijan in the course of the last years. The spreading of this malady in Azerbaijan was kept as a secret formerly. However, actually we refused this approach and we think that it is necessary to learn the truth about this negative phenomenon and dangerous malady and inform the society about it. Taking this approach one can fruitfully implement the measures for prevention of such a dangerous malady the drug addiction is. Approaching the problem in this way we have mobilized all structures of the country for struggling with drug addiction and elaborated a national program. The orders were given to the appropriate state bodies and public organizations which are assigned with specific tasks for its implementation. Today I appeal once again to the state bodies and the society of Azerbaijan to carry out a serious struggle against drug addiction. I think that the problems related with the settlement of this problem, the struggle against drug addiction and its proliferation will take a special place in the agenda of the today’s session and will be reflected in the documents adopted here.

The reasons of the proliferation of drug addiction are well-known. These are illegal production of drugs, illegal drug turnover, sale, selling and transportation from the countries of production to other countries.

Therefore, each country must struggle with production and illegal use of drugs. It is well known that limited production of drugs is for medical reasons.

Production of drugs for others must be completely banned and prevented and people or groups dealing with illegal production must be made answerable. We treat the problem like that in our Republic. Today at this session I declare once again about such raising of this problem in our Republic and I demand all organization of the Republic of Azerbaijan to fulfill the assigned tasks.

At the same time, I would like to note that the illegal drugs production in our country is of insignificant importance and I feel extremely happy that this malady, the malady of illegal production takes an insignificant in comparison with other republics place. However, it doesn’t matter, it is necessary to completely eliminate this phenomenon.

At the same time it is well known that the illegal turnover of the drugs, their transportation and proliferation from one country to another is being expanded. The facts voiced here prove of it. Some 2500 tons of opium is produced in Afghanistan and this is a very dangerous phenomenon. It is dangerous not only for Afghan people, but also for others. Since Afghanistan is geographically close to our region - the Middle East, we should be serious while treating these facts. The illegal drugs production not only in Afghanistan, but also in some other countries of the Middle East, their illegal transportation and sale in other countries became a big business. Unfortunately, some other groups and gangs from other countries dealing with proliferation and sale of drugs in their countries have joined this business.

This is truth, we must recognize it and I think that one of the main objectives of your session should be the struggle with these phenomena.

Geographically Azerbaijan is a country located in the conjunction of East and West, North and South. Many routes pass through our country and a diversity of transport means connect other countries with other countries. All of this is necessary for maintaining of close contacts with other countries, as well as countries neighbor to us.

Today I definitely declare once again about inadmissibility of transportation of drugs from one country to another and use of the territory of Azerbaijan for this purpose.

I demand once again all appropriate bodies of Azerbaijan to take additional measures for the prevention of the facts of use of the territory of our country as a transit itinerary for the transportation of drugs. From this viewpoint the frontier troops and customs of Azerbaijan have very crucial tasks. They should take it as an objective of the primary importance and fulfill it. The law-enforcement bodies of Azerbaijan must struggle against drug addiction, in particular with drug business, including the cases of transportation of drugs via Azerbaijan’s territory.

Speaking about drug addiction, one must think not only of the countries of the Middle East, but, as I have mentioned earlier, it should be taken as a universal problem. Because the main volume of the drugs transported by different means from the Middle East, is exported to the countries of Europe. It is necessary to strengthen the struggle in these countries and take necessary measures for carrying out of joint activities amongst countries of our region with European countries.

The UN program for international drugs control and the work carried out by the United Nations in this sphere, as well as the activity of its specialized bodies are worth of interest. On behalf of Azerbaijan I would like to state once again that the illegal turnover, illegal use of drugs and drugs business are factors posing a threat for the mankind today and in the future. I would like to express my confidence that the United Nations Organization will take all necessary measures and do its best for the implementation of such a wide-scale program.

The Republic of Azerbaijan will suitably fulfill its assignments on the implementation of this program in the future and will do its best for rescuing of mankind from this great danger - drug addiction and drug business.

Dear guests! Today you have gathered in Azerbaijan, in Baku in connection with the question, submitted to the discussion. At the same time, such discussions, the international meeting brings the countries together and promotes the establishment and development of relationships amongst countries. These meetings establish friendly and kind relationships amongst countries, peoples, nations and provide conditions for mutual understanding amongst countries and more correct assessment of situation in these countries. I am hopeful that you, our dear guests, seizing this opportunity will do your best for the development and strengthening of the relationships amongst our countries and peoples. Thus you will contribute to the defense, protection and strengthening of the peace and stability in the Middle East and in the world.

Azerbaijan is a newly independent state. Five years pass since the state independence of Azerbaijan. At the same time, the Azerbaijani people have a centuries-old, ancient and rich history, great culture and specific national and moral traditions. I hope that in the course of your stay in Azerbaijan you will have an opportunity to discover the historical past and contemporary history of our people. I would like you to have a correct idea on our people, our country and our independent state.

The Republic of Azerbaijan adheres the way of strengthening and development of its state independence. The legal, democratic and civilized state building is underway in Azerbaijan, great changes take place in the life of our republic. The social and economic life of the Republic of Azerbaijan is in the process of great changes. Adhering the way of free and market economy, Azerbaijan intends to integrate more closely to the world economy.

These processes cause numerous problems for the state of Azerbaijan and our people. We settle these problems and I believe that we will settle them all.

At the same time we have another very difficult and complicated problem - the military aggression of the neighboring Armenia against Azerbaijan which started eight years ago. In the result of this aggression some 20 percent of the Azerbaijani territory was occupied by Armenian military units, more than a million of Azerbaijani citizens were expelled by force from the occupied territories and became refugees.

The blood was shed in the result of this aggression and Azerbaijani people suffered many victims. The property of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the occupied territories are plundered and destroyed.

Despite this Azerbaijan has always been declaring and I also declare today that we are for the peace and peaceful settlement of the conflict. An agreement on cease-fire was achieved for this purpose between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1994 and since then the negotiations on the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani military conflict, Mountainous Garabagh conflict are underway. A lot of work was done for the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the elapsed period.

Finally, in December of the last year some important documents on the peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict were adopted at the OSCE Lisbon Summit. The principles of the peaceful settlement of the conflict were reflected in this document: recognition of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, pledging of the high self-governance status to the Mountainous Garabagh within the Republic of Azerbaijan, guaranteeing of the security of all people of the Mountainous Garabagh. We intend to conduct the negotiations on the basis of these principles and try to achieve the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the result of the negotiations. I consider that with the support of the international organizations and in the result of the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group, as well as constant care and attention of the United Nations Organization to this problem, through the mediation of the great countries, especially, in the result of more serious engagement of Russia, the United States and France which are co-chairs of Minsk Group, we will achieve the peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Dear guests! Each country has its own problems. At the same time, there are problems causing the concern of all humankind and the world. Sometimes, the internal problems of some countries become the problems of humankind. We support the settlement of all problems inhibiting the peaceful life of people all over the world and we do our best in this sphere. Separatism, terrorism and military conflicts are sources of problems causing anxiety of people in many regions of the world. We are always opposing and we still oppose the separatism all over the world, in the any region of the world. We condemned and we condemn the international terrorism and we always oppose it. We are supporting the peaceful settlement of all inter-state conflicts, conflicts between countries, nations, and we are for taking necessary measures in order to prevent such kind of conflicts in the future. We want the reestablishment of the peace all over the world, in every region and we do our best in this sphere. We are for timely settlement of the global problems in the world and in the future we will be in the first lines of the struggle against drug addiction and drug business causing a great threat to the people of the world.

Dear guests and participants of the session! I wish you successes in the discussion of the outstanding tasks and further activity, I wish peace, prosperity and happiness to your people and countries. Thank you.