BAKU: Huseyn Bagirov: "CITES’s Ban On Sturgeon And Black Caviar Expo

HUSEYN BAGIROV: "CITES’S BAN ON STURGEON AND BLACK CAVIAR EXPORT HAS POLITICAL AIM AND NO LOSS FOR AZERBAIJAN"

Azeri Press Agency, Azerbaijan
Oct 30 2006

"The place where the Volga joins the Caspian constitutes 75-80%
of the Sea pollution"

APA interviews Ecology and Natural Resources Minister Huseyn Baghirov

– What activities will be implemented under Presidential decree on
improvement of ecological situation?

– The environment is that which is affected by any human activities
in industry, household and lands. A number of documents have been
approved for improvement of the situation. 5 national and state
programs were approved by Presidents- Heydar Aliyev and Ilham Aliyev.

The first problems appear in Absheron because of oil pollution.

Azerbaijan has been producing oil for over 160 years industrially.

90% of the world oil had been produced in Azerbaijan in primitive
methods. 15 000 hectares of land have been left completely polluted
with oil and 30 000 hectares partially. Besides oil, industrial
development also caused complex ecological situation in Absheron. The
Caspian now has a number of over-polluted hotspots. The most polluted
zone is the junction of the Volga with the Caspian which is 75-80%
of the totally polluted territories. The second over-polluted zone is
the Iranian shore. The third is junction of the Kyur with the Caspian
which comes through Armenia and Georgia. Mingechevir Reservoir is not
in capacity to completely prevent the pollution. The fourth zone is
Absheron peninsula.

All these problems are planned to be removed. Waste water let to the
Caspian will be completely prevented by 2010. Much of the oil-polluted
territories will be purified and special organization will be set up
to implement these activities.

– Ecology and natural Resources Ministry experience the pressure of
state Organizations and officials while fighting the damage to the
environment. What measures will be taken to prevent these cases?

– This problem doesn’t only apply to the state organizations. For
example, a shepherd damages the nature. 3-4 sheep should be grazed in
a hectare. But, it is not so in reality. Which shepherd observes this
rule? On the other hand, it should be engraved in the mind of every
enterprise that they can’t work with purification equipment. The
State can do nothing by chasing 8m people. The Ministry therefore
increases awareness.

– What amendments will be made to the law in order to be able to
prevent nature damage? Some articles will be included in the Criminal
Code, I think….

– Monetary penalties of 556m were imposed on the culprits a year by
2001. this Figure reached 33bn in 2005. Penalties of 55-60bn manats
were imposed but only 10% has to date been paid. Besides tightening
the punishment and penalties, people’s approach to the nature should
be changed. It should be known as a guilt or sin to damage the nature.

– International organizations, in particular foreign oil companies
operating in Azerbaijan also harm the nature. Most companies don’t
pay the penalties. What is your view?

– These companies use high-tech equipment but their approach to the
Nature is different. We demand them to approach the nature as they do
in their country. A lawsuit was brought against Salyan Oil for the
penalties of AZN 111 650 because of oil pollution. Garadagh Cement
has twice been brought to the court for penalties of AZN 64 503 and
AZN 69 850. Gobustan Operating Company was fined AZN 143 935, Caspian
Specialist Service AZN 1980. Karasu Operating Company was brought
to the court for AZN 96 162 and the company cleaned the polluted
territories. Shirvan Oil was fined AZN 55 and a claim of AZN 8531
against this company in trial.

– CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
of Wild Fauna and Flora) kept effective the ban on black caviar and
Caspian sturgeon. This ban is applicable for the Caspian States except
Iran. What is your view on the problem?

– CITES’s decision is illogical. US support for this ban is very
incredible. On the other side, what is the meaning of this decision
is not clear. It is not loss for Azerbaijan. We would understand the
decision if it had banned all littoral states to export black caviar
and sturgeon. This decision has political aims and no connection to
the damage to the nature.

– Azerbaijan has only 10% of the water reserves of the South
Caucasus. 2/3 of the world population will be faced water shortage
in 2025. What about Azerbaijan?

– Ecology and natural Resources Ministry submitted a number of
proposals to the Cabinet. We see water as strategic resource.

Azerbaijani population should be ready for re-purification of the
used water. World countries use this method. Israel uses this method
too. But, the purification technology should meet the standards
of the World Health Organization. 30-32% of Azerbaijan’s water
reserves is in rivers, of which 28% in the Kyur. Azerbaijan is not
expected to experience water shortage by 2050. But, we should use
water economically.

– Foreign Companies are tapping gold deposits in Azerbaijani lands
under occupation by Armenia. What measures will be taken?

– Armenia is an aggressor. It killed thousands, evicted millions of
people. Azerbaijan authorized Canadian R.V. Investment to tap the
gold deposits in these territories. This Company has to prevent the
illegal tapping of the gold deposits and bring them to international
court. Canadian First Dynasty Mines (FDM) company is tapping the
gold deposits illegally in these lands. R.V. Investment can solve
the problem in accordance with the law of their country.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS