U.S. Ambassador Commemorates Donation of English-Language Training Equipment from Department of Defense to the State Customs Committee of Azerbaijan

United States Ambassador Lee Litzenberger joined Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan Major General Javad Gasimov yesterday to review an English-language training computer lab and training materials that the U.S. Department of Defense has donated to the State Customs Committee.  This equipment is one part of an ongoing program of security assistance the U.S. Department of Defense has provided to Azerbaijan since 2019in support of counter-trafficking, border security, and maritime security efforts.

The equipment the U.S. Ambassador reviewed during his visit to the State Customs Committee Academy is part of more than USD 30 million provided to the State Customs Committee through the Title 10 Section 333 Building Partner Capacity program to secure Azerbaijan’s borders.  Since 2019, the U.S. Department of Defense has committed approximately USD 90 million worth of assistance to Azerbaijan security forces to counter illicit trafficking and stop smugglers from violating Azerbaijan’s borders.

Ambassador Litzenberger remarked during the visit that the U.S. Embassy has built a strong relationship with the State Customs Committee.  This visit highlighted the importance of assisting the State Customs Committee to bolster its human capacity as well as its equipment resources.  Ambassador Litzenberger said: “Narcotics smugglers and others seeking to threaten Azerbaijan’s population by bringing illicit goods into the country are a constant problem, especially at the southern border with Iran.  Our Department of Defense, along with other U.S. law enforcement agencies, like the Drug Enforcement Administration, have worked with the SCC and other border security agencies here to help ensure that they have the training they need to defeat the constant threats Azerbaijan faces along its borders.

We are gratified by the State Customs Committee’s efforts to train and educate Azerbaijan’s border security workforce.  We have several English-language training programs in Azerbaijan, and I am proud that we can add this new facility to the list, as one more step in the 30-year relationship between the United States and Azerbaijan.  This country’s strategic importance makes it a natural partner for the United States in the region and we welcome the opportunity to assist security forces to face our shared threats,” Ambassador Litzenberger added.

Deputy Chairman of the State Customs Committee Major General Javad Gasimov welcomed the Ambassador and spoke about the importance of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United States in customs procedures and training.  He thanked the United States for the training provided to Azerbaijani customs officers including in the United States and for the English language lab and training materials provided by the United States.

Vice Rector of the State Customs Academy Jamiliya Namazova welcomed the guests and briefed the Ambassador about the Academy’s activities, highlighting the importance of the U.S. provided English language training for Azerbaijani customs officers.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Attaché Joshua Evans also participated in the visit and emphasized his organization’s cooperation with the Government of Azerbaijan and the U.S. Department of Defense.  Evans stated, “As part of our ongoing work in Azerbaijan, the DEA is proud to work closely with the Government of Azerbaijan and the U.S. Department of Defense to continue the counter narcotics fight.  Azerbaijan is a key partner for the DEA and we look forward to a continued relationship.”

The U.S. Department of Defense contributes to capacity building with partners around the world to defeat the illicit trafficking of goods, people, narcotics, and weapons.  The U.S. European Command’s Joint Interagency Counter Trafficking Center and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration cooperate to design programs for the U.S. Embassy that support Azerbaijan’s efforts to counter illicit trafficking and protect its population from transnational threats, organized crime, and violent extremism.

The U.S. Department of Defense has been an active partner with the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and other border security organizations, since 2002.  The donation of equipment and training from the U.S. Department of Defense since 2019 strengthens border security capabilities and assists the State Customs Committee in stopping the harmful impact of narcotics and other materials smuggled into or through Azerbaijan.