The 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 US Department of Defense has donated to the State Customs Committee, the US Embassy told Report.

This equipment is one part of an ongoing program of security assistance the US Department of Defense has provided to Azerbaijan since 2019 in support of counter-trafficking, border security, and maritime security efforts. The equipment the US Ambassador reviewed during his visit to the State Customs Committee Academy is part of more than $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 US Department of Defense has committed approximately $90 million worth of assistance to Azerbaijan’s security forces to counter illicit trafficking and stop smugglers from violating Azerbaijan’s borders.

Ambassador Litzenberger remarked during the visit that the US Embassy has built a strong relationship with the State Customs Committee: “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 US 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 Jamila Namazova welcomed the guests and briefed the Ambassador about the Academy’s activities, highlighting the importance of the US providing English language training for Azerbaijani customs officers.

US Drug Enforcement Administration Attaché Joshua Evans also participated in the visit and emphasized his organization’s cooperation with the Government of Azerbaijan and the US 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 US 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.”