By Sara Rajabova
An Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry official expressed concern over Armenian Prime Minister's proposal to investigate allegations of drug trafficking in the Nagorno-Karabakh territory, local media reported.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Elman Abdullayev said Azerbaijan has repeatedly expressed its concern over drug transit through the occupied territories to international organizations, including the UN.
At the meeting with Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yuri Fedotov, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan invited UNODC to conduct an investigation concerning the allegations of drug trafficking in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Abdullayev said that by making a decision about the territory of another country, Armenia has once again demonstrated its impudent disrespect for international law.
He said that Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani officials and representatives in international organizations have repeatedly made well-founded statements about the use of the occupied territories in drug production.
The Azerbaijani Ministry of National Security earlier exposed 12 people involved in smuggling drugs from Iran, and impounded about 40.5 kilograms of narcotic substances from them. It was ascertained that part of these drugs had been cultivated and harvested in the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenian armed forces. These drugs were then delivered to Iran and from there found their way to Azerbaijan.
Given the urgency of the problem of controlling illicit trafficking, intensive work is underway in Azerbaijan to establish a legal basis for combating such crimes.
Azerbaijan has joined the 1961, 1971 and 1988 UN conventions on narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and the fight against illegal circulation of precursors, and has signed bilateral and multilateral agreements and memoranda with a number of countries on fighting drugs.
Besides the three UN conventions, Azerbaijan is party to the Partial Agreement, establishing the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe on cooperation in combating drug abuse and drug trafficking.
Over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions, has been occupied by Armenian forces since the war between the two South Caucasus countries in the early 1990s. The UN Security Council has passed four resolutions calling for an Armenian pullout, but they have not been enforced to date.