2012 year marks beginning of new stage in foreign policy of Azerbaijan

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It has been already 20 years since the Republic of Azerbaijan regained its independence. Difficult but glorious path has been passed in the past period in all spheres of state building including foreign policy. As the foreign policy pursued in the first years of independence was spontaneous and unsystematic, specific features of geopolitical area where Azerbaijan is located were not taken into consideration with no conceptual approach taken to topical issues. The foreign policy was one-sided and in most cases dependent on a concrete situation. As a result Azerbaijan was isolated from international community, its relations with major neighboring countries were strained and due to the efforts of the Armenian lobby
Azerbaijan was blockaded in the world information community.
Fundamental principles of Azerbaijan`s foreign policy were formed by national leader Heydar Aliyev. The foreign policy strategy established by Heydar Aliyev was directed to salvation of Azerbaijan and determination of future development strategy of the country. The conceptual foundations of this strategy incorporated steering the country out of isolation, balanced foreign policy course, integration into world economy and Euroatlantic community, organized activity of world Azerbaijanis and in the next stage, turning the country one of economic centers in the region.
A balanced foreign policy, multifaceted cooperation, equal partnership and pragmatic political course based on principles of independent policy meeting national interests were the factors brought by Heydar Aliyev`s greatness to the foreign policy concept of independent statehood. Continuing today these traditions President Ilham Aliyev strengthened even more and elevated to a new stage the Azerbaijan`s position in the international arena. Azerbaijan is not only an ordinary actor in the global political stage but also an initiator and partner of regionally important projects, country characterized by its influence in the international community.

The year 2012 marked several milestones in the Azerbaijan`s foreign policy. This year we celebrate 20 years of establishment of diplomatic relations with 68 countries and several international organizations. On January 30 Azerbaijan marked the 20th anniversary of its membership in the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe and on March 2 the United Nations. During over 20 years, the Republic of Azerbaijan has gained a special respect in the international community. Azerbaijan`s securing a seat in the UN Security Council for 2012-2013 is a vivid evidence of this and great success of the foreign policy. As President Ilham Aliyev said: Becoming a member of the UN Security Council is our historical victory. This victory coincided with the 20th anniversary of our independence. It is symbolic. Over the past 20 years Azerbaijan not only took a worthy place in the world map, but also gained respect and trust of the world community”.
Azerbaijan is a second post-Soviet nation to become a non-permanent member of this influential organization after collapse of the Soviet Union (but the first in South Caucasus and Central Asian regions). By gaining a seat in the UN Security Council, Azerbaijan got an opportunity to use this platform in order to improve international cooperation and activity mechanism meeting modern requirements. At present, the world community is intensively debating the existing international system including UN enforcement mechanisms and its activity, which fails to meet new realities and fair approach. What causes great discontent is a different approach of great powers to similar conflicts existing in the world depending on their geopolitical interests. The international law seems to be applied when there is the need to serve special interests.  So, the different approach to regulation of international relations system is a call of our time.

Azerbaijan, in turn, supports UN reforms to effectively overcome threats and problems of the new era. Azerbaijan faces direct results of inefficiency of the existing international law enforcement mechanism and double approach to different problems in the world. The current approach is to blame for the failure in implementation of resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884 adopted by the UN Security Council in 1993 on the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Reaffirming the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, these resolutions, demanded the immediate ceasefire, halting of military operations and withdrawal of occupying forces from the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. So, Azerbaijan, which is to assume presidency of the UN Security Council in May, may draw the international community’s attention with the initiative to conduct reforms directed at functional changes in the UN.

Azerbaijan`s geographic, geopolitical position, economic situation and potential play an important role in determining its foreign policy. Historically located at the intersection of various civilizations, cultures, religions, Azerbaijan enjoys great influence in the region as a country connecting North and South, East and West and as a transportation, energy and communication hub in the Eurasian region. At the same time, Azerbaijan gained the image of a reliable partner in the energy security. Energy policy of not only neighboring but also several European countries gives preference to Azerbaijan. This trust was gained due to international cooperation started with the Contract of Century. Azerbaijan`s increasing international image is seen more clearly in 2012.  Azerbaijan is respected in the world political architecture on regional, even global challenges and threats. President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev participated in January in the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, which discussed economic future of the world and 48th Munich Security Conference highlighting security problems.  In February Azerbaijan was represented at the G20 summit in Mexico and in March Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea.  All these are evidence of the increasing influence of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan has also recently came forward with some international initiatives. In accordance with President Ilham Aliyev’s Order World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue has been held in Baku every two year since 2011. Azerbaijan is an initiator of such an influential platform as the International Humanitarian Forum. In 2009 Baku was proclaimed the Capital of Islamic Culture as the bearer of the cultural heritage. In 2011 Azerbaijani representatives won the European song contest and this year Eurovision will be held in Baku. The candidacy of Baku was put forward to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2020 and the city is one of major bidders. On the other hand there are qualitative changes in participation of Azerbaijan in the activity of international organizations. Location of the permanent secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic-Speaking Countries in Baku is one of the first steps in this direction. The international community also recognizes Azerbaijan as a friend in hard times. Azerbaijan was one of the first countries to send first aid to the disaster-hit Pakistan, Turkey, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova over the past year. All these factors determine the Azerbaijan’s place in a political architecture of the world. Azerbaijan as a member of the UN Security Council is a leader country in the South Caucasus region, actively responds to challenges of international community and supports just attitudes in the world.

New Times



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