IOM Director General António Vitorino visits Azerbaijan for high level meetings and Non-Aligned Summit

IOM Director General António Vitorino has held several high-level meetings in the Azeri capital Baku, where he attended the Summit-Level Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group on the fight against COVID-19.

On arrival, DG Vitorino first met with President Ilham Aliyev, where he noted that the Summit created an opportunity for conducting discussions on current world issues including human mobility.

"IOM is very pleased to work with the Government of Azerbaijan, UN agencies, and other partners to contribute to the program that the Government has to support the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their regions of origin. I look forward to strengthening this cooperation," said Mr Vitorino.

He emphasized Azerbaijan's chairmanship of the Almaty Process - a consultative process on refugee protection and international migration for 2023-2024 - and highlighted how this platform can ensure continuous dialogue and information exchange around migration.

On the same day, a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a Regional Training Center on Migration was signed between the State Migration Service of Azerbaijan and IOM.

During the signing ceremony, Mr Vitorino said that the Centre will “enhance interagency collaboration, share best practice and standards, broaden the regional dialogue, and create dynamics for a whole of society approach on migration topics.”

Chief of the State Migration Service (SMS) Vusal Huseynov noted that the project has already made an important contribution to the further development of cooperation between the SMS, IOM, and institutions from the region and beyond. “Ten training sessions have already been held as part of the project, with almost 200 representatives from Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Eastern Partnership countries,” he said.

The establishment of the centre on Migration in Azerbaijan was described as an important step in the field of migration processes and bilateral cooperation between the Organization and the Government when Mr Vitorino met Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeyhun Bayramov.

Their discussions focused on bilateral cooperation between IOM and Azerbaijan, including ongoing programmes on migration management, anti-trafficking activities, supporting vulnerable target groups, IDPs, and assisted voluntary returns.

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