AZERBAIJAN — CIS
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) was established on the basis of the “agreement on the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States” signed in Minsk on December 8, 1991. On September 24, 1993, at the meeting of the CIS Council of heads of state, a decision was adopted on the accession of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the CIS.
There are 9 cooperation areas within the CIS and the main goal of the organization is to develop multilateral cooperation in the economic, military, political, and humanitarian spheres.
Currently, there are 8 charters, 69 sectoral cooperation bodies, and 15 other bodies in the CIS, in general, more than 90 bodies.
The Republic of Azerbaijan prefers to continue bilateral cooperation with CIS member-states. At the same time, the Republic of Azerbaijan is interested in continuing cooperation within the CIS on issues of interest to our country in political, economic, and humanitarian spheres and maintaining this organization as the plane of dialogue between the participating states.
The decision of the Council of Heads of State on the concept of future development of the CIS dated October 5, 2007, was signed by our country with a special opinion and this special opinion reflected the basic principles of the activity of the Republic of Azerbaijan within the CIS.
The agreement on the CIS free trade zone was signed at the meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of State held in St. Petersburg on October 2011, 18, but Azerbaijan did not sign this contract either.
On October 2015, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev attended and made a speech at the meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of state on October 16. In his speech, he touched upon the important role Azerbaijan plays as a part of the North-South and East-West corridors and invited other CIS countries to join the projects.
Despite the fact that expectations regarding the CIS were not fully realized, Azerbaijan still considers it expedient to continue its activity within the CIS. Although Azerbaijan’s accession to this organization did not lead to the achievement of all goals, it was important from the point of view of preventing certain plans of Armenia. The CIS could not accept any serious documents without the consent of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has been able to veto a number of CIS documents taking into account the Armenian factor. In particular, our country’s independent position on the issue of establishing a security system allows us to curb the biased political intentions of the Armenians. Azerbaijan prevented integration within the CIS by restricting the independence of the republics and left the processes that could not prevent it.
Currently, there are 8 charters, 69 sectoral cooperation bodies, and 15 other organizations in the CIS, in general, more than 90 organizations. The statutory bodies are the Council of Heads of state, the Council of Heads of government, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, The Economic Court, the Interparliamentary Assembly, the Executive Committee, and the Council of Ministers of Defense, and the Council of commanders of border troops. The charter bodies represented by Azerbaijan are the Council of Heads stat, the Council of Heads of government, the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Interparliamentary Assembly, the Council of Ministers of Defense, and the Executive Committee. In general, Azerbaijan participates in only 30 sectoral cooperation bodies of the CIS, and 11 other bodies.
CIS countries occupy an important place in Azerbaijan’s foreign trade. The use of visa-free travel and preferential customs tariffs between Azerbaijan and CIS countries is of great importance in this. If earlier the main trade partners of Azerbaijan were the CIS countries, now this ratio has changed in favor of the countries of the European Union. The Russian Federation has the largest trade turnover with Azerbaijan among the CIS countries.
Azerbaijan treats the CIS as an important, but not vital regional organization, is able to protect its priorities with the framework of this organization, is far from the processes that can restrict independence, and at some points, demonstrating a concrete position, protests against the processes. The CIS is a platform for bringing the most important issue for Azerbaijan to the agenda of Armenia’s aggressive policy and making efforts to eliminate the consequences of the occupation. The CIS plays the role of one of the important directions of a multifaceted and balanced foreign policy for Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan prefers to continue cooperation with the CIS republics on a bilateral basis, but at the same time is interested in preserving the CIS as a platform for dialogue between the participating states. As can be seen, Azerbaijan currently characterizes the CIS not as a special integration mode, but as a “plane of dialogue”. it is no coincidence that Azerbaijan one of the last integration centers within the CIS (military-security, economic, etc.) tried to stay away from its processes as much as possible.