The lasting partnership between Azerbaijan and the MNA – OpEd – Eurasia Review
Azerbaijan’s belief in the values of international cooperation and multilateralism has become the driving force behind its chairmanship of NAM, which, although initially scheduled for 2019-2022, was recently extended for a year, until in 2023. This extension of the Azerbaijani presidency took place during the NAM mid-term online ministerial meeting that took place on July 13-14, 2021.
In this regard, the political declaration of the online ministerial meeting specifically highlighted Azerbaijan’s outstanding management of the work of the group so far and expressed satisfaction “for effectively leading the work of the Non-Aligned Movement in a difficult period for all Member States and for its commitment and willingness to continue the presidency of NAM until the Republic of Uganda takes over at the end of 2023. ”Under the Azerbaijani presidency, the MNA acquired a renewed spirit and a stronger voice in international affairs, and the unanimous extension of Azerbaijan’s tenure as president is shining proof of the meeting’s statement.
Another highlight of the same NAM ministerial meeting was the arrival of a new country, the Russian Federation, with observer status.
Azerbaijan is the only country in the South Caucasus region to have become a full member of the movement. Moreover, Azerbaijan is the only country in the South Caucasus which pursues a multi-vector and balanced foreign policy without seeking close association with any competing politico-military bloc. He joined the ranks of the NAM in May 2011 with a view to Azerbaijan’s candidacy for membership in the UN Security Council.
Some speculate that Azerbaijan’s last-minute NAM membership actually helped it secure votes for the 2012-2013 non-permanent UN Security Council seat in the October elections. 2011. It goes without saying that as a non-bloc country that favors a balanced foreign policy, Azerbaijan and the MNA share converging objectives.
With its 120 members, the MNA is the largest international entity after the United Nations and its raison d’être is the neutrality of any military bloc. In the Havana Declaration, it is stated that the MNA does not align itself with or against any major power center and defends “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries”. In addition, collective adherence to the ten principles of Bandung (1955), including, in the first place, those concerning respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, is a primary determinant that binds a group of ‘States as diverse.
After Azerbaijan assumed the chairmanship of the organization for 2019-2022, it twice called NAM summits. The first of these occurred in October 2019, with heads of state and government of NAM countries meeting in Baku to pass the torch of the presidency to Azerbaijan and discuss the organization’s priorities for coming years. The second NAM online summit was held on May 4, 2020 at the initiative of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit the world unexpectedly. The main message of the summit was to make all possible efforts “to increase solidarity and mutual support among the members of the group”.
It was noted that “in the face of the new realities posed by pandemics, this open discussion within the group is necessary to unite efforts in order to achieve agile actions and mutual support in order to achieve the best and most effective solutions. effective ”. Another important outcome of this online summit was the establishment of a NAM working group to create a database that would contain the basic humanitarian and medical needs of NAM member states and which would then be submitted by the country. chair to potential donors to attract support for the needs of member states in the fight against COVID-19. As a follow-up to the NAM summit in May 2020, and with the support of NAM member states, Azerbaijan succeeded in convening a 31st special session of the United Nations General Assembly related to COVID-19 in early December 2020.
One of the most significant episodes of the formation of successful and mutually supportive partnerships between the NAM countries and Azerbaijan was the unequivocal support that Azerbaijan received from NAM for its territorial integrity during the war of 44 days with Armenia from September 27 to November 10, 2020. When Azerbaijan embarked on a counteroffensive to restore its territorial integrity within internationally recognized borders, the three co-chair countries of the Minsk Group of the OSCE, led by France, have launched a motion for the adoption of a presidential statement by the UN Security Council, the text of which intends to rescind the four Security Council resolutions of the UN 1993 (822, 853, 874, 884) which demanded the unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian armed forces from occupied Azerbaijani territories. It was the persistent and principled position demonstrated by the NAM countries in the Security Council in favor of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity that prevented the adoption of such a partial document. President Ilham Aliyev then thanked all NAM countries for defending Azerbaijan and once again stressed that the same support Azerbaijan has received is reciprocal to NAM countries on a wide range of issues.
The political declaration of the July 2021 mid-term ministerial meeting under the Azerbaijani presidency focused on a wide range of issues related to international peace and security, thus positioning the NAM as one of the central actors on the international scene to meet these urgent challenges. To name a few, the group expressed its commitment to make collective efforts to combat terrorism, xenophobia, racism, intolerance, national and religious discrimination, human rights violations. human rights, the lack of rule of law and many other new and emerging threats.
The declaration also contained relevant provisions on security issues in several NAM countries, including an emphasis on “… stressing the importance of effective mine action. The political declaration from the mid-term ministerial meeting once again underscored the group’s determination to tackle COVID-19 and vaccine nationalism through collective efforts and to ensure “… the distribution of COVID vaccines- 19 safe, quality, efficient, effective, accessible and affordable among low- and middle-income countries…. “
As mentioned above, Azerbaijan’s accession and subsequent NAM presidency are emblematic of its multi-vector foreign policy and its persistence in seeking the dissociation of any military and security bloc. However, the revival of the work of the NAM and the strengthening of its global position is also the result of Azerbaijan’s strong support for international cooperation, multilateralism and global solidarity.
The success of the Azerbaijani presidency of NAM is also a testament to the existence of mutually beneficial partnerships as well as shared values within the group. The alignment of broader strategic goals, coupled with dedication and perseverance, has undoubtedly spawned the current model of a successful and lasting relationship between Azerbaijan and the NAM. In a time of global disruption, where the world needs unity, effective multilateralism and collective efforts more than ever before, the achievements of the movement under Azerbaijani presidency are likely to have long-term effects, as NAM is growing. is rediscovered and demonstrated a greater ability to make a difference on a global scale.
* Dr. Esmira Jafarova is a member of the board of directors of the Center for Analysis of International Relations (AIR Center), Baku, Azerbaijan