AZERBAIJAN — THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), established by a number of states at the time during the Cold War to prevent a confrontation between two political-military poles, has now become one of the most important multilateral mechanisms involved in the regulation of international relations. Despite the fact that the NAM has emerged in a concrete historical context, the main goal of which is to promote peace, security, and development in the world based on international law, it does not lose its relevance in the modern world, and the agreed position within the movement plays an important role in influencing decision-making within the UN General Assembly. One of the main principles of the creation and functioning of the NAM is that it plays the role of a forum for cooperation between its members. The Non-Aligned Movement currently has 120 members, 17 observer states, and 10 Observer international organizations.
Each member state of the organization must state its commitment to the principles of the organization. The principles of membership were adopted even before the organization was founded in 1955 during a conference in Bandung, Indonesia. The “Bandung principles” are as follows:
- Respect the goals and principles of the UN Charter, as well as fundamental human rights and freedoms;
- To respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states;
- Recognizing the equality of all races and people, regardless of the number;
- To avoid interference in the internal affairs of other states;
- Respect for the right of each state to defend itself individually or collectively within the framework of the UN Charter;
- Abstain from the use of collective protection measures to serve and special interests of the great powers;
- To refuse any activity directed against the territorial integrity and political independence of the other states, as well as from the use of force and threats to the use of force;
- To settle all international disputes peacefully, in accordance with the UN Charter;
- Promote mutual interest and cooperation;
- Justice and respect for international obligations.
The organization does not have a permanent body or housing office. NAM is managed by the chairman of the organization and representative offices of member states through the Coordinating Bureau located at the UN headquarters. The bureau is the main body of the NAM, which operates on a permanent basis and regulates the international coordination work of the organization. Through the Bureau, the NAM coordinates the access of its members to a single position in the UN bodies. The leadership of the bureau is carried out by the permanent representative of the state to the UN, which is the chairman of the organization.
The chairmanship of the movement is a three-year rotation between states from different regional groups. The state, which has submitted a candidacy from the relevant regional group, is elected chairman at the summit with the consent of all member states. The Chairman State hosts a summit at the beginning of the three-year term of chairmanship and a ministerial meeting in the last year of his presidency. In addition, the chairman, through his permanent mission to the UN, carries out the leadership of the Bureau of the movement and other duties related to the presidency. According to the practice, the state, which adopted the chairmanship function, should devote one structural unit of its Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the affairs of the NAM and try to promote the ideas and principles of the NAM.
The grouping of the NAM member states in the UN Security Council (“Caucasus”), being one of the important bodies of the NAM, serves to ensure the positions of the NAM members in the Security Council. The activities of this group, which consists of members of the NAM elected to the SC, are regulated through the Coordinating Bureau. Holding meetings on a regular basis, the grouping considers a single position to be demonstrated in the UN SC on behalf of the NAM. On the other hand, through the aforementioned grouping, the NAM works reflect the decisions of its summits in the relevant documents of the Security Council. Within the group, the group’s coordinator is elected, and the coordinating state regularly through the Coordinating Bureau informs the members of the UN Security Council on the main issues required discussed at the UN Security Council and the issues required to demonstrate a unified position of the UN Security Council. At the same time, the chairman of the Bureau can participate in the meetings of the UN SC and express the unified position of the SC in the discussion of issues of particular importance for the member states of the organization.
Another important structural unit of the NAM is the Joint Coordination Committee. According to the Cartagena (1996) paper on the methodology, the main function of this committee is coordination and cooperation between the NAM member states and the “group of 77” for joint protection of the interests of developing countries in the international arena. According to the Havana document on the NAM methodology (2006), the Coordinating Committee must hold meetings at least twice a year.
One of the common features of the NAM with some European structures is the existence of a “Troika” of the chairmen of the organization. “Troika” is organized by the former, current, and regular chairman States of the NAM and meets on a regular basis and discusses issues of great importance to the organization.
As for the meetings held within the framework of the movement, the Summit conferences or the meeting of the heads of state and Governments of the NAM member states are the main high meeting of the NAM. The ministerial meetings of the Coordinating Bureau are limited to the preparation work for the summit and are held on the territory of the state presiding over the organization at least 4 months before the summit.
There are working and contact groups and committees on various topics of the movement. The main purpose of these groups is to contribute to the activities of the movement. On a regular basis, the groups should report to the coordinating bureau and hold meetings when they consider it important.
The head of state or government of the state or minister of foreign affairs of the state wishing to become a member of the organization shall apply in writing to the chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement and upon appeal, the issue shall be submitted to the Movement Summit or ministerial meeting. The decision on membership is made by consensus. No member should be against the state when the new member is admitted to the organization.
Since 2011, the Republic of Azerbaijan has chosen the direction of not joining any military alliance in its foreign policy.
Azerbaijan pursues a course of foreign policy aimed at developing cooperation relations with all states and a balanced policy without joining any military blocs. For this reason, our country decided to become a full member of the Non-Aligned Movement, which has observer status, in 2011. The same year he joined the movement at the XVI Ministerial Conference in Bali. The territorial integrity of our country has been unequivocally recognized by the member states within the organization and our rightful position has always been supported on international issues.
Azerbaijan contributes to the goals and principles of the Non-Aligned Movement by participating in meetings and conferences at various levels and strengthening its bilateral relations with member countries. During the short period of our membership in the movement, awareness in the broad circles of the international community about the Armenia-Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict increased further and internal procedures and documents of the organization reflected continuous support to the resolution of Azerbaijan within the territorial integrity.
In 2018, on April 5, the Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement was held in Baku on the theme “Promoting international peace and security for Sustainable Development”.
The reality today is that the Republic of Azerbaijan is committed to the spirit and principles of the Non-Aligned Movement. Our country pursues a course of foreign policy aimed at developing cooperation relations with all states and a balanced policy without joining any military bloc.
It is an indicator of the confidence of the Non-Aligned Movement in our country and the growing authority of our state that, despite its membership in a short period of time, member states unanimously supported the chairmanship of Azerbaijan to this organization. Thus, in October 2019, the XVIII Summit of Heads of State and Government of the members of the Non-Aligned Movement was held in our country on October 25. The heads of state and government of about 60 countries, as well as heads of international organizations, take part in the XVIII summit. In general, the summit was attended by representatives from about 160 countries and international organizations.