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The Non-Aligned Movement in Azerbaijani foreign policy

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Baku, 24 October 2019 – Newtimes.az

After WWII, a number of important changes occurred in the new world order. It became more difficult to have nations accept an identity as colonies during this period and anti-colonial movements put an end to the claims that certain nations enjoyed racial superiority, economic priority and mastery, which had dominated the world of the 19th century and remained effective until the fall of Nazi Germany. With Western states weakening significantly, decolonization began in Asia, Africa and South America. Along with independence movements, decolonization resulted in many new actors joining the international system. A bi-polar world was formed during the new period and the view of the poles on the rest of the world changed significantly. On the one hand the USSR claimed it would establish a communist order in the world, while on the other the USA claimed to lead the democratic formation of societies for world peace. While the USA and the USSR supported these developments for their own interests and political propaganda, a third side entered the bipolar world in 1947. The concept of the Third World became more prevalent with anti-colonial movements and the rise of new states in India, Pakistan, Indonesia and the rest of Asia and Africa afterwards.1 The newly-independent states made a series of initiatives to walk their own independent way when confronted with the reality of the bi-polar order on the stage of world politics. These developments in Asia and Africa, termed ''intellectual decolonisation''2 by Pankaj Mishra were to a great extent attempts by these countries to form their own path. The new actors on the world political stage had decided to stay clear of the options they were given. The desire to remain independent led new states to approach the financial aid offered by the two blocs with caution. For them being nonalignedmeant being independent.

An important point that needs to be observed is that non-alignment is not the same as neutrality. There is a significant difference between them in terms of international politics.3 While neutrality denotes not being connected with a party and the attitude of not taking sides in a problem or war, non-alignment does not convey the same sense of abstention that neutrality does.4 Non-alignment is not related to a state of war alone and expresses a much wider freedom of political and diplomacy movement.5

The system of international relations which advanced at dizzying pace following WWII featured a series of agreements, alliances, pacts and contradictions. NATO, established in 1949, SEATO, formed in the 1950s, the Balkan and Baghdad pacts involved a significant part of the world in military alliances. The recognition of West Germany’s sovereignty with the Paris Agreement of October 23rd 1954 and its consequent inclusion in NATO, the coming into effect of the agreement allowing rearmament on May 5th 1955 led to the rise of the Warsaw Pact as a Soviet-led military alliance. At the Genève Conference held in 1954 on the independence of Austria and the resolution of ongoing conflicts in the Far East, a series of decisions with impacts on the international order were taken.6 Relations between India, Ceylon, Pakistan, Burma and Indonesia grew closer, after these newly-independent countries with significant populations and territory were not invited to the Genève Conference held after the Korean War.7 These countries felt the need to clarify their positions in the newly forming world politics. Two important ideals gave the initial impetus to their relationship: 1- Combating Western imperialism, 2- Protecting the independence of Asian and African states. The first initiative was undertaken by Indonesian Prime Minister Ali Sastroamidijojo. In May 1954, the heads of state and government of Indonesia, India, Pakistan Burma and Sri Lanka gathered in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.8 At first the meeting seemed specific to Asia. However, the declaration included demands for full independence for Indochina and the recognition of the right to selfdetermination of the nations of Tunisia and Morocco. The demands and promises of this declaration opened up an important field for anti-imperialist cooperation between Asia and Africa. The five countries that attended the meeting were unequivocally opposed to external communist and anticommunist pressure. India, Burma and Indonesia had openly opted for non-alignment. It is possible to say that the Colombo Meeting was a turning point in the history of Asian and African peoples. The meeting which took place without the regulation of external powers set in place the idea that "Asia belongs to Asians''. Following the Genève talks held right after the Colombo meeting for a ceasefire in Indochina, Indian Prime Minister Nehru carried out an official visit to North Vietnam and recognized Ho Chi Minh as the de facto leader of Vietnam. In October 1954, Nehru travelled to Beijing for a joint Asian-African conference. As a result, participants of the Colombo Meeting came together once more in Bogor, Indonesia in December 1954.9 Two meetings were held here and at the main meeting, four principles were establish for holding an Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung within a year by joint decision of the heads of state of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma.10 There were three significant leaders of the ideal of Asian-African rapprochement. These were Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Indonesian President Ahmad Sukarno. A total of 600 delegates from 30 countries including China, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen and Afghanistan were invited to the Bandung Conference held in April 1955.11 The aim of the conference was to ''debate the joint social, economic and political problems of Asian and African countries and to form a shared platform for their development.''12 Due to their geopolitical and geostrategic positions, Turkey, Iraq and Iran appeared to be representing the Western party at the conference.13 One of the foremost ideas discussed at the conference was that world peace could not be protected without Africa and Asia. Indonesian President Ahmad Sukarno, who hosted the conference told delegates in his opening address: ''I hope that this conference will lead humanity, show it the true road to peace and safety and will prove the birth of a new Asia and Africa.''14 Indonesian Prime Minister Ali Sastroamidijojo was elected as chairman of the conference and following negotiations, the foundations of the Non-Aligned Movement were laid with the participation of 24 of the 29 attending countries.

Undoubtedly the most important aspect of the Bandung Conference is that it announced loudly the ten important principles of international relations under the name Bandung Principles. These important principles may be listed as: 1- Respect for fundamental human rights and the aims and principles of the UN Charter. 2- Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations. 3- Recognition of the equality of all races and all countries large and small. 4- Non-interference and non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries. 5- Respect for every nation’s right to unilaterally or collectively defend itself in accordance with the UN Charter. 6- Avoiding the use of collective mechanisms of defense to serve the special interests of a major power and pressure by one country against other countries. 7- Avoiding aggression, threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country. 8- The resolution of all international disputes through negotiations, settlement, arbitration and legal settlement as well as any other peaceful means the parties may select in keeping with the UN Charter. 9- Promoting mutual interests and cooperation. 10- Respect for justice and international obligations.

In the history of the organizational development of the Non-Aligned Movement, the preparatory meeting held in Cairo on June 5th-12th 1961 and the founding Belgrade Conference on September 1st-6th 1961 are just as important as the Bandung Conference. After the Belgrade Conference, with the great influence of Jamal Abdul Nasser and Josip Tito, the rising diplomatic weight of the Non-Aligned Movement and of the Third World became more apparent. Following the said meetings, the nature of the Movement was defined as follows: 1- Non-alignment means following a policy of co-existence based on peace among countries with different political and social ways of life. 2- Non-alignment supports the national independence rights and movements of all peoples. 3- Nonaligned countries are not a part of Western, Eastern or similar military alliances. 4- There will be no cooperation with either of the opposing military alliances or membership of regional defense pacts which may amount to the same. 5- Non-aligned countries will not allow bases on their territory which may benefit either military alliance.15 The 1st Habana Declaration of 1979 once more confirmed the significance of the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of all members of the Non-Aligned Movement and emphasized the joint will of these countries against colonialism, expansionism, racism, all forms of external pressure, intimidation, invasion, occupation and intervention. Although the Non-Aligned Movement emerged during the Cold War, it has not lost its significance after the disintegration of the USSR and in today’s world. On the contrary, the Movement is the organization with most member countries in the world after the UN and maintains its weight in voicing and resolving global issues.

The Non-Aligned Movement and Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan became a full member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which includes 120 member states, 17 observer states and 10 international organizations as observers on May 26th 2011. What makes the Movement attractive for Azerbaijan are undoubtedly its principles. For Azerbaijan, principles of sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and non-intervention of international law constitute existential red lines. For Azerbaijani diplomacy, which is trying to resolve the issue of its Nagorno-Karabakh region and its environs, which were occupied and pillaged by Armenia, in the framework of international law, a large and influential platform such as the Non-Aligned Movement is very significant. In line with the unanimous decision taken at the 17th Summit of the Movement held in the island of Margarita, Venezuela on September 13th-18th, Azerbaijan will host the 18th Summit in Baku on October 25th-26th 2019 and will act as the president of the movement between the years 2019-2022. One of the important aspects of the summit in Baku is that the Movement will be coming to Europe for the first time since the summit held in Belgrade in 1989 over which former Yugoslavia presided.16

Azerbaijani diplomacy has developed its bilateral and multilateral ties within the Movement and has to informed member states correctly of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, with the result that clauses supporting the just position of Azerbaijan have been included in the concluding documents of meetings of foreign ministers and summits of the Movement since 2012. Enjoying historical, religious, social, cultural and traditional ties with member states, Azerbaijan has established the following priorities as the term president of the Movement: 1- Strengthening unity and solidarity among the members of the Movement. 2- Strengthening the international influence of the movement. 3- Supporting the Bandung Principles.17 The theme of the 18th Summit to be held in Baku gives a good idea about Azerbaijan’s aims: "Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world.''

During its term presidency, Azerbaijan will try to ensure that solidarity and a joint approach is followed by member states in keeping with the presidential priorities outlined above. Azerbaijan will coordinate the activities of member states in the UN Security Council to this end. We may be sure that the Permanent Representation to the UN of the Republic of Azerbaijan will fulfill this noble mission successfully.

The statement by President Ilham Aliyev at the ministerial meeting of the Movement held in Baku on April 3rd-6th are very significant: "We all wish to lead independent lives. None of us want someone to demand what we should do, interfere in our affairs and give us orders. For this we must stand strong. We can only stand strong when we stand united.''18

Dr. Elsevar Salmanov

Notes:

1) Muhammed Tandoğan, Konstrüktivizm (Sosyal İnşacılık) Kuramı Bağlamında Afrika Birliği, İnsan ve Toplum Bilimleri Araştırmaları Dergisi, Vol. 4, No. 3, 2015, p. 638.

2) Pankaj Mishra, Asya`nın Batıya İsyanı, Çeviren Ahmet Fethi, İstanbul: Alfa Yay., 2013, p. 328.

3) Mehmet Gönlübol, Uluslararası Politika - İlkeler - Kavramlar - Kurumlar, Ankara: Siyasal Kitabevi, 2000, p. 69.

4)Tayyar Arı, Uluslararası İlişkiler ve Dış Politika, Bursa: MKM Yayıncılık, 2008, p. 266.

5) Irene Brown, "Studies on Non-Alignment”, The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol.4, No.4, Dec., 1966, p. 517

6) Çağdaş Üngör, Çin ve Üçüncü Dünya, İ.Ü. Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Dergisi, No:41, October 2009, p. 29.

7) Jacques Pirenne, Büyük Dünya Tarihi, ( Trans.: Nihal Önal ), İstanbul (no date), Vol. 4, p. 2107.

8) Davut Dursun, Bandung (art.), TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi, 1992, Vol. 5, pp. 55-56.

9) Pirenne, Büyük Dünya Tarihi, p. 2108.

10) Özyaşar Erhan, Bandung Konferansı (Bağlantısızlar Bloku)nın, ABD-Sovyet Rusya`nın Bölge Politikalarına Etkisi, Fırat Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Ensititüsü master’s Thesis, Elazığ 2018, p. 47.

11) İzzet Çıvgın ve Remzi Yardımcı, Çağdaş Dünya Tarihi, Ankara, Ertemmatbaası, 2011, p. 273.

12) Aruna R Mital, Non-aligned movement and its relevance today, International Journal of Humanitiesand Social Science Research, Volume 2, Issue 7, India, July 2016, p. 22.

13) Özyaşar, Bandung Konferansı, p. 52.

14) Ibid

15) Samir N. Anabtawi, ''Neutralists and Neutralism'', The Journal of Politics, Vol. 27, No.2, May 1965, p. 352-53.

16) 120 ölkeninüzvolduğuQoşulmamaHerekatınınzirvətoplantısıBakıdakeçiriləcək - https://xezerxeber.az/son_x%C9%99b%C9%99r/256912.html

17) https://azertag.az/xeber/Azerbaycanin_Qosulmama_Herekatina_sedrlik_edecek__Bu_ugurlu_xarici_

siyasetimizin_ve_Herekatin_uzvlerinin_olkemize_yuksek_etimadinin_tezahurudur-1314698

18) https://president.az/articles/27718

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