INTERPOL Chief’s visit to Azerbaijan highlights country's international security role in Europe and Central Asia
BAKU, Azerbaijan – Advancing international law enforcement collaboration on a national and regional scale was the focus of INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble’s high-level meetings during a visit to Azerbaijan.
With a meeting between Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Mr Noble highlighting the essential role played by international security cooperation with INTERPOL, key topics during the INTERPOL Chief’s meetings on Thursday with the Minister of Internal Affairs, Ramil Usubov, and General Prosecutor Zakir Garalov, were how INTERPOL can work more closely with Azerbaijan’s authorities via its National Central Bureau (NCB) in Baku to enhance law enforcement cooperation and expand access to INTERPOL global tools beyond its NCB to police on the frontlines to promote regional security.
In this respect, Azerbaijan’s authorities agreed that an INTERPOL Major Event Support Team should visit Azerbaijan to determine what level of support would be needed from INTERPOL for the Eurovision Song Contest, Eurovision 2012, which Baku will be hosting in May next year.
"Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs sees international police cooperation with INTERPOL as a priority. Secretary General Noble's visit to Azerbaijan is therefore a timely and important opportunity to identify areas where we can enhance our collaboration for the benefit of citizens in the region and beyond,” said Minister of Internal Affairs Ramil Usubov.
“Azerbaijan is a safe country and its continued close collaboration with INTERPOL will help keep it safe and keep criminals out,” added Minister Usubov.
Secretary General Noble said strong security cooperation in the region, including with Azerbaijan, underpinned international efforts against transnational crime.
The head of INTERPOL outlined how Azerbaijan’s involvement in INTERPOL's Project Millennium, an ongoing initiative involving 42 countries targeting transnational Eurasian organized crime by sharing and contributing intelligence to INTERPOL's project database, demonstrated Azerbaijan’s commitment to international law enforcement cooperation.
"International law enforcement collaboration between INTERPOL and Azerbaijan is important for the region and beyond. Transnational organized crime in Central Asia has an impact far beyond the region," said Mr Noble, citing for example how drugs such as heroin and opium are trafficked through the region to countries in Asia and Europe.
Mr Noble also highlighted how Azerbaijan recently took part in Operation Pangea IV, an international week of action coordinated by INTERPOL against the online sale of illicit medicines which resulted in dozens of arrests and the seizure of millions of potentially harmful medicines.
"A collective approach to security with countries taking full advantage of INTERPOL's global police tools and sharing intelligence is crucial to effectively protecting citizens in Azerbaijan, in the region and worldwide," added Secretary General Noble.
Also high on the agenda during Secretary General Noble's visit was the role of the INTERPOL Travel Document in facilitating the worldwide travel of INTERPOL officials, chiefs of law enforcement agencies, heads of National Central Bureaus and staff to travel internationally on official INTERPOL business without requiring a visa when assisting in transnational investigations or urgent deployments.