By Vafa Ismayilova
As part of its international integration, Azerbaijan has built and continues to build good relations with a number of highly influential organizations and this allows the country to have a say on issues of fairly strategic importance for it.
From this standpoint, Azerbaijan’s fruitful cooperation with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) can be assessed as very significant.
The NAM was formed in the 1960s during the Cold War, when nations felt forced to choose between siding with one of the world’s two superpowers: the United States or the Soviet Union. NAM members, however, refused to be officially aligned with or against either.
As of 2018, the movement had 125 members and 25 observer countries. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev currently serves as the NAM secretary-general, a position he took over during the NAM’s 18th summit in Baku in October 2019, and will hold until 2022.
Against the background of international pressure on Azerbaijan after counteroffensive operations to liberate internationally recognized territories from the Armenian occupation, the NAM continues to show its strong support to the country.
In his address to the nation on 26 October, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev thanked the NAM member countries that prevented the adoption of a document aimed at overshadowing the 1993 UN resolutions demanding the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from occupied Azerbaijani lands.
“A few days ago, we heard about the appearance of a new document. We immediately took action and prevented the adoption of this document even though the three co-chair countries exerted great pressure on other members of the UN Security Council. What was the purpose of this? The goal is very clear – to overshadow the resolutions adopted in 1993 demanding the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from our lands, to leave them in the past so that they lose their power and significance... We saw further attempts to provide support to the occupier. What is the result? It did not pass. How? The NAM member countries stood up like real men and did not allow this to happen, they supported us – I thank them. And this happened despite the fact that they came under pressure and may have even been threatened. But they stood up like men for us just as we stand up for them. This shows that nothing will work,” he said.
Earlier, the heads of state and government acknowledged Armenia’s aggressive actions against Azerbaijan. Representatives from the NAM member countries signed a statement that reaffirmed the inadmissibility of the occupation of territories by force and confirmed that no state will recognize the legitimacy of the situation arising from the occupation of Azerbaijani territories.
"We, the heads of state and government, express our strong support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and express our solidarity with Azerbaijan's efforts to restore its territorial integrity," the document read, according to reports by Azertac.
Meanwhile, in his speech on 26 October President Aliyev stressed that the legal framework for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was quite broad.
“We have expanded this framework. Today, there are not only UN Security Council resolutions but also other documents. The UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Parliament and other organizations. The document we have initialled with the European Union contains a special provision on the sovereignty of our country, the inviolability of our borders and territorial integrity. In other words, it is a legal framework that allows us the opportunity to teach the enemy a lesson on the battlefield, to drive them away, to remove them from our lands,” he said.
Speaking at the NAM summit in Baku on 26 October in 2019, President Aliyev said that during his chairmanship he will work towards the priorities established under the Bandung principles, named after the city in Indonesia where, in 1955, 29 governments from Asian and African countries gathered. There they agreed to mutual respect for sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs and equality.
President Aliyev said the principles match the priorities and foreign policy of the government in Baku.
“We must intensify our efforts to ensure compliance with the norms and principles of international law,” President Aliyev said in his speech.
“In this regard, there is a great need for reforms in the activity of the UN. Changing borders by force, violating the territorial integrity of countries by force, and interfering in internal affairs is inadmissible.”
“Nagorno-Karabakh, the historic land of Azerbaijan, and seven surrounding districts – around twenty per cent of the internationally recognized territory of our country has been under Armenia’s occupation for more than twenty-five years,” the president explained.
“The four resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 1993 required the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops from the territory of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, these resolutions have not been implemented. Sometimes Security Council resolutions are implemented within a few days. Sometimes it remains on paper for 26 years, as it does in relation to the conflict that Azerbaijan is facing. The policy of these double standards should be stopped.”
Following the occupation of Kalbajar, a district in Azerbaijan that lies along the border with neighbouring Armenia, on April 3, 1993, the United Nations Security Council adopted the first of four resolutions, calling for the cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied region and districts.
In that same year, three more resolution followed, all calling for Armenian troops to leave the country, and all go unfulfilled to this day.
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