It is difficult to prevent drug trafficking in Azerbaijan's occupied lands: UN

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 23 April 2009 13:34 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, April 23 / Trend , K. Zarbaliyeva/ 

The United Nations says it is difficult to prevent drug trafficking in Azerbaijan's occupied lands that are left without control.

"It s difficult to fight against trafficking and production of drugs in Azerbaijan's occupied lands,"United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Representative on Central Asia James Callahan told reporters in Baku.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.

As many as 20,741 drug abusers were registered in Azerbaijan in 2008 and 19,500 in 2007. About 1,815 HIV and AIDS-infected people were registered in 2008 and 1,379 in 2007.

The UN representative said the number of unregistered drug abusers exceed the official statistics by many times.

Callahan said the UN mission sent to assess drugs and crime in the South Caucasus in 2003 was not allowed to Azerbaijan's occupied lands.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) regional representative's meeting with Azerbaijani officials focused on Azerbaijan's priorities on fight against drugs, UNODC's possible assistance by law enforcement agencies, reducing dependence on drugs, treatment of drug abusers, aligning respective legislation and administrative acts on rehabilitation of drug abusers with international conventions.  

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