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U.S. State Department: “Azerbaijan continued to strengthen its counterterrorism efforts”

“Azerbaijan continued to strengthen its counterterrorism efforts,” the U.S. State Department has said in its 2013 Country Reports on Terrorism.

The report says Azerbaijan maintained its strong counterterrorism cooperation with the United States and actively opposed terrorist organizations seeking to move people, money, and material through the Caucasus. “The country continued to strengthen its counterterrorism efforts, prosecuted numerous individuals under statutes related to terrorism, and confiscated sizeable quantities of illegal arms and munitions.”

The report notes that Azerbaijan continues to use counterterrorism legislation, first adopted in 1999, that governs the investigation and prosecution of individuals who have committed or plan to commit terrorist acts. “The Ministry of National Security is primarily responsible for combating terrorism, although the Ministry of Internal Affairs also plays a role as the country’s primary law enforcement entity. Both ministries demonstrated the ability to detect and deter terrorist activities.”

“The report notes that Azerbaijan is a member of the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (Moneyval), a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Azerbaijan has increased its professionalism in anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) since 2009, when it adopted AML/CFT legislation. This legislation created a financial intelligence unit, the Financial Monitoring Service (FMS), and imposed the necessary obligations on financial institutions to conduct customer due diligence and to report suspicious transactions to the FMS. Institutions from outside the formal financial sector that conduct monetary operations, however, are often not required to report, which presents vulnerabilities.”

The report also says: “At the end of 2013, Azerbaijan concluded a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the UNSecurity Council, supporting various terrorism-related UNSCRs. Azerbaijan remained an active member of the OSCE, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and other regional organizations. Additionally, Azerbaijan took part in working group meetings of Caspian Sea littoral states to coordinate law enforcement efforts aimed at combating terrorism as well as smuggling, narcotics trafficking, and organized crime.”