Foreign policy course of President Ilham Aliyev: Role of Non-Aligned Movement increases – ANALYSIS
- 05 May 2020
The Summit meeting in the format of Contact Group of the Non-Aligned Movement under the motto “United against COVID-19” dedicated to fight against coronavirus was held on May 4 through videoconference by the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev. Thus, during a very short time, the head of the Azerbaijani state has succeeded in bringing together the world leaders for the second time after the emergency summit meeting of the Turkic Council through videoconference.
The Non-Aligned Countries is one of the tribunes of exclusive significance for the implementation of our national and state interests by our country chairing the Non-Aligned Movement since the autumn of last year.
The attendance of the summit meeting by the chairman of the UN General Assembly, general director of the World Health Organization, chairman of African Union Commission, the addressing of video-appeal by the UN General Director Mr. Antonio Guterres and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission for a Stronger Europe in the World Mr. Josep Borrell, as well as an appraisal of activity of the President of Azerbaijan for the organization of the Summit meeting and for its serious practical contributions the fight against the pandemic, the statement of multiple thanks to our head of state are the visual indicators of high prestige of our country and its leader on the international arena. It is not occasional that the UN General Secretary said during his video-appeal that the only response to the coronavirus pandemic is courageous, far-seeing, and joint leadership. At the same time, he thanked the President of Azerbaijan for convening such a meeting and especially stressed the UN’s support for the efforts of our President.
It is worthy of special mentioning that one more event also took place for the first time in the history of the Non-Aligned Movement yesterday. It was for the first time in the history of the Movement that an official of the European Union participated in the summit meeting of this organization and also made a speech. Thus, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev also succeeded in bringing together during the times of the coronavirus threat the European Union and the Non-Aligned Movement “situated on the opposite pole” directed against the European Union and the Western world as a whole.
The logic of the processes taking place on the international arena is such that just in the present times under the conditions of the multi-polar world, the repeated emergence of the opposing blocs and coalitions on the geopolitical map the role of the Non-Aligned Movement slightly weakened after the expiry of the cold war is strengthening again thanks to the foreign policy course conducted by President Ilham Aliyev. Today, the established global order is being destructed once again worldwide, new power centers are emerging, the peculiarities of the relations between states are changing, the old contradictions are deepening, the traditional partners are being left on different sides of the barricade, and the long-term rivals are finding common language on the backdrop of coinciding of geopolitical and economic interests. The threat of development of new local conflict foci into large-scale wars is emerging, the statehood of a number of countries is undermined under the flag of democracy. In these conditions, the Non-Aligned Movement should find its place in world architecture as a balancing and constraining factor. And this very mission is being fulfilled by the geographically small Azerbaijan which however has quite a strong position in the world policy.
There were several paths of development in front of our state gaining its independence in 1991 as other former Soviet republics. Firstly, it could integrate with post-Soviet states led by Russia. Secondly, it could take a course towards the West by choosing the path of integration with the European Union, the Council of Europe, and NATO. Unlike any other CIS country choosing one of these two options, Azerbaijan gave preference to a quite different path. Mr. President has declared clearly and everywhere the strategic policy line of Azerbaijan. The independent Azerbaijani state has its own path of development. The essence of this path is to become a state-driven by interests of the Azerbaijani people and ensuring the preservation of its culture, language, mentality, and satisfaction of its national interests and to have mutually beneficial relations with other world countries. The official Baku chose the neutral and balanced foreign policy course. This was the course of representation of Azerbaijan’s interests region-wide and worldwide by conducting mostly the neutrality policy.
Two systems – the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) led by Russia and the North Atlantic Military Alliance – NATO bloc ensuring the general military security of the states in the Caspian-Black Sea basins and the Southern Caucasus region where Azerbaijan is situated are exiting currently. In such conditions, the task of acquiring an international guarantee in any form turned into one of the foreign policy priorities of the country in order to protect itself from external impacts and pressures, to enforce its military security and sovereign rights, and to prevent foreign military interventions.
In 2011, when quite serious geopolitical processes were taking place, our country joined the Non-Aligned Movement. In certain sense, this membership had shown to all large and small states having interests in the region that Azerbaijan didn’t intend to join any bloc and didn’t want to allow the keeping on its territory of military bases of foreign countries. Despite our membership in the Movement for a short period of time, Azerbaijan has been chairing the world’s largest organization beginning from autumn of 2019.
The official Baku whose another main priority on the international arena is to wage informational war against Armenia and to solve Nagorno Garabagh problem, is widely using the potential of this movement for realization of its national and state interests.
In October of last year, the Baku Summit of heads of state and government of the Non-Aligned Movement uniting 120 states took place. This summit also allowed us to deliver to elites of 120 countries the history of Azerbaijan and the events occurring around Garabagh.
When speaking on the foreign policy dividends granted to Azerbaijan by the participation in the Non-Aligned Movement, as President Ilham Aliyev himself said repeatedly, “The membership in the Movement has created favorable conditions for more active involvement of our country in the international peace-making, security and cooperation processes, for development of bilateral and multilateral relations with various states including most countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa”.
Since the very beginning of Azerbaijan’s membership in the Non-Aligned Movement, this organization has expressly stated its support for sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally recognized borders of our country, and in all adopted documents, called for settlement on the basis of just these principles of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno Garabagh conflict being the most painful problem for our country. This fact was also clearly confirmed in the final document adopted at the meeting of the Ministerial Council of the Non-Aligned Movement organization held in July of last year in Karakas City – the capital of Venezuela. It is noted in the specific item supporting Azerbaijan’s position in the aforementioned document that despite of relevant resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, the continuing non-settlement of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan remains a source of threat to international and regional security and peace. The ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement once again confirming the significance of non-use of force principle stipulated in the UN Statutes, called on the sides to search for ways of settlement of the conflict through negotiations, in the framework of territorial integrity, sovereignty and internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.
At the same time, in the framework of Baku Summit that took place in October of this year, this time going forward further, the members of the Movement called Armenia by its true name – the OCCUPANT! This is the position of 120 states of the world i.e. nearly two-thirds part of the planet!
Thus, the strategic targets determined by the head of our state in the area of foreign policy on the backdrop of the crisis and conflicts ruling worldwide, escalation of geopolitical disputes peculiar to the cold war era, emergence of new forms and manifestations of terrorism, as well as asymmetric threats and menaces, and recently the coronavirus pandemic calamity includes the requirements of the present times and in the long term, serves for the purpose of sustainable development and provision of security of our country.
The Summit Meeting of the Contact Group of the Non-Aligned Movement dedicated to the fight against coronavirus taking place on May 4 was also a part of works aimed at implementation of these strategic targets...
Assistant Professor of the State Governance Academy under the President
Chairman of Baku Political Scientists Club