Azerbaijan – United Nations
Cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United Nations was established soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union and after Azerbaijan restored its independence. The Republic of Azerbaijan was admitted into the United Nations on March 2, 1992 and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations was opened in New-York on May 6, 1992. Beginning from the very first day of the cooperation with the United Nations Azerbaijan used the platform of the United Nations to draw the international community’s attention to the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict and use United Nations potential for its peaceful settlement. During 1993 the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions 822, 853, 874 and 884 on the ArmenianAzerbaijan conflict. Each of the abovementioned resolutions was adopted following the subsequent occupation of Nagorny Karabakh region and other territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the Armenian armed forces. These resolutions reaffirmed the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, demanded immediate cease-fire, suspension of hostilities and withdrawal of all occupying forces from the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Regrettably, the provisions of the resolutions have still not been implemented. Expressing with great concern that the humanitarian situation in Azerbaijan continued to deteriorate seriously and the number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) in Azerbaijan exceeded 1 million, in 1993 at its 85th plenary meeting the UN General Assembly adopted resolution “Emergency international assistance to refugees and displaced persons in Azerbaijan” (A/RES/48/114). During the period 1992 to 1996 the UN Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council made several statements on the conflict confirming the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Azerbaijan and supporting the OSCE Minsk Group’s efforts towards its peaceful settlement. Since 1996 the UN General Assembly in its resolution “Cooperation between United Nations and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)” reaffirms territorial integrity of Azerbaijan (“the conflict in and around the Nagorny Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan”). Azerbaijan takes an active part in the work of the UN General Assembly. In 1994 and 1995 at the 49th and 50th sessions of the UN General Assembly President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev headed the Delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In September 2000 he also joined the work of the UN Millennium Summit and delivered a speech highlighting security and globalization problems, emphasizing the Azerbaijan’s contribution to the positive development of globalization as well as security issues in the South Caucasus. In September 2003 then Premier Minister Ilham Aliyev addressed the 58th session of the UNGA focusing on regional and international security threats and the national socio-economic development. Azerbaijan maintains cooperation with a wide range of specialized UN agencies and bodies in a very active and effective manner – UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNESCO, UNCTAD, IAEA and etc. The cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is focused on the alleviation of the conditions for children and teenagers among the refugees and IDPs. Azerbaijan was a member of the Executive Board of UNICEF for the terms 1995-1997, 1998-2000. Azerbaijan has been actively participating in the work of other various UN bodies and agencies. Azerbaijan was a member of the Commission of the Status of Women (2000-2002). Azerbaijan is also a main sponsor of the Commission’s annual resolution “Release of women and children taken hostage, including those subsequently imprisoned, in armed conflicts”. The Republic of Azerbaijan has special links with appropriate UN agencies and bodies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Industry Development Organization (UNIDO). Different projects and programmes aimed at improving living standards, structural adjustments of economy are carried out in close cooperation with them. Particularly, UNDP has provided extensive support to the process of post-conflict rehabilitation by funding and developing the capacity of the Azerbaijan Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency (ARRA) and the Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA). UNDP support to ARRA has facilitated the effective coordination of work in the sector by the World Bank, UNDP, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the European Union (EU) Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) programme and others. Azerbaijan views the transformation of its economic and political system as a high priority in its efforts to bring the country more in line with modern norms and standards. An important part of this process is the strengthening of democratic infrastructures, greater transparency and public participation in political debates and decision-making processes.
To create employment and stimulate the economy UNDP help the Government of Azerbaijan to address those institutional and policy issues most critical to the effective development and growth of private sector. In an effort to deepen structural reforms, UNDP works closely with the World Bank on a public-sector reform programme in Azerbaijan. As a result of Armenian aggression, there are about 1 million refugees and internally displaced persons in Azerbaijan. Since 1993 the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) closely work to alleviate the conditions of refugees and IDPs. Taking into account the critical importance of the education, science and cultural issues Azerbaijan practices a large-scale cooperation with the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and for this purpose in 1994 according to the President Decree Azerbaijan established National Committee for UNESCO. Different Ministries and Agencies of Azerbaijan cooperate directly with their appropriate partners within the UN system (for example, Ministry of Health and World Health Organization). The Republic of Azerbaijan is a co-sponsor of a number of resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly and other UN bodies. The National Delegation put forward its own resolutions. Thus, the Delegation of Azerbaijan initiated the resolution “missing persons” at the 58-60th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (CHR). The provisions of this resolution adopted by CHR are based on the wellknown rules of international humanitarian law and draw attention to an important issue which, in opinion of Azerbaijan is not given due attention and consideration at the international for a. Azerbaijan actively takes part in election process by nominating its representatives to the appropriate UN agencies and bodies. As it was mentioned, Azerbaijan was a member of Executive Board of UNICEF for the terms 1995-1997 and 1998-2000, the Commission of the Status of Women in 2000-2002, the Committee on Sustainable Development in 2002-2004.
Azerbaijan was elected a member of ECOSOC for the period of 2003- 2005. Past three years due to the increased attention of the international community and the UN particularly to the counter-terrorism activity, Azerbaijan makes its own contribution to the global campaign against terror. In the UN framework, Azerbaijan actively cooperates with the UNSC Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) and has submitted three national reports (S/2001/1325, S/2002/1022, S/2003/1085). Azerbaijan recognizes a vital role of the United Nations, first of all, in establishing and maintaining international peace and security, as well as in sustainable development and democratization. Azerbaijan supports the idea of the reform within the UN so as the Organization will be able to tackle with problems and challenges of the Twenty-first century.
Azerbaijan – OSCE
24 January, 1992 – The Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan appealed to the Council of Europe to obtain the special guest status.
10 November, 1994 – The Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE adopted Resolution 1047, commending cease-fire on Armenia-Azerbaijan battlefront.
3 February, 1995 – According to Recommendation 1247 adopted in 1994 implying right of request of three South Caucasian countries to become CoE members, the Bureau of the PACE come up with the initiative of examining the request of Azerbaijan to obtain the special guest status.
17-18 March, 1996 – In the session of the European Commission for Democracy through Law of the CoE, Azerbaijan became a member of the commission.
5-6 June, 1996 – The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. H.Hasanov visited Strasbourg and participated at the discussions in the meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the CoE concerning historical relations between Europe and Azerbaijan, foreign policy of Azerbaijan and trends of democratic changes in the country. In accordance with the results of the meeting, a Cooperation Program between Azerbaijan and CoE was developed.
28 June, 1996 – The Bureau of the PACE adopted a resolution on granting special guest status to Azerbaijan.
12-14 July, 1996 – Mr. S.Kelas, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the CoE, and Mr. D.Tarschys, Secretary General of the CoE, visited Baku and had meetings with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Chairman of Milli Majlis and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Internal Affairs. During the meetings they discussed the prospects of participation of Azerbaijan in the CoE.
13 July, 1996 – H.E. H.Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, in his letter addressed to the Secretary General of the CoE, expressed desire of Azerbaijan to become a full member of the CoE and be accessed to the European Convention on Human Rights like other member states.
11 September, 1996 – In their 573rd meeting the Ministers’ Deputies of the CoE, adopted Resolution 96(32) envisaging intensification of negotiations with the Azerbaijani authorities, provision of assistance within developed cooperation programs with the purpose of facilitation of transition to democracy in Azerbaijan and accession of the country to the CoE.
January 1997 – The delegation led by Mr. M.Alasgarov, Chairman of Milli Majlis, participated in the seminar on Caucasian Problems held in Strasbourg at the invitation of Ms. L.Fisher, Chairman of the PACE.
22 April, 1997 – In the spring session of the PACE there was adopted Resolution 1119 on the conflicts in Southern Caucasus, reflecting the principle of inviolability of borders, ensuring of security in conflict areas by international peace-keeping forces, granting of wide autonomous status for Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh after negotiations between all parties concerned, as well as the right of return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their home.
25 April, 1997 – The Republic of Azerbaijan signed the European Cultural Convention.
10-11 October, 1997 – H.E. H.Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, participated at the second Summit of Heads of state and government of CoE Member States in Strasbourg and exchanged views with the high-ranking officials of the CoE on democracy in Azerbaijan, relations of Azerbaijan with European institutions and stated Azerbaijan’s attitude on the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.
20 January, 1998 – The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan issued a decree on “The cooperation of the Republic of Azerbaijan with the Council of Europe and measures for protection of Azerbaijan’s interests in Europe”.
3 February, 1998 – On the legislative initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Milli Majlis adopted a resolution on the abolition of death penalty. Indeed, the moratorium on the execution of death penalty had been valid since 1993.
August, 1998 – In order to get detailed information on Azerbaijan, the delegation led by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Mr. D.Tarschys visited Baku and held a number of official meetings.
16 August, 1998 – The censorship on press in Azerbaijan was abolished.
11 September, 1998 – The delegation of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) of the CoE led by Mr. M.Melshore, President of the Constitutional and Arbitration Courts of Belgium, visited Azerbaijan.
November 1998 – Mr. Kh.Hajiyev, President of the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan, visited Strasbourg and held meetings with the Secretary General of CoE Mr. D.Tarschys and Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the PACE providing information concerning the foundation and functioning of the Constitutional Court of Azerbaijan and declared the readiness of Azerbaijan to become a member of the CoE.
15-18 September, 1999 – Lord Russell-Johnston, Chairman of the PACE, visited Azerbaijan.
21 October, 1999 – The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan issued an order on “Institutional arrangement of representation of the Republic of Azerbaijan at the Council of Europe”.
2-3 March, 2000 – Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. A.Azimov visited Strasbourg and addressed the meeting of the Group of Reporters on Democratic Stability in Europe (GR-EDS) of the Committee of Ministers. He held discussions with high-ranking officials of the CoE and permanent representatives of its member states on accession of Azerbaijan as a full member to the CoE.
18 March, 2000 – The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan issued a decree on “Dissemination of information on CoE’s work and cooperation of Azerbaijan and the CoE”.
23, 25 March, 2000 – The Political Affairs Committee of the PACE sent a list of obligations to Milli Majlis that Azerbaijan would have to assume following accession as a full member to the CoE. The document was signed by the representatives of all political parties represented in Milli Majlis.
27-28 March, 2000 – The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. V.Quliyev visiting Strasbourg submitted to the Secretary General of the CoE the above-mentioned list of obligations as well as ratification documents on joining of Azerbaijan to 8 CoE Conventions.
5-6 May, 2000 – The Chairman of Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. M.Alasgarov visiting Strasbourg participated in the Conference of Chairmen of parliaments of European states, as well as in meetings between parliamentary delegations of three South Caucasian countries and delegation of the French Parliament, parliamentarians of South Caucasian countries and the PACE.
15 May, 2000 – In the meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the PACE held in Dublin was heard a report of Mr. J.Bomel, reporter on Azerbaijan, and was given positive opinion on accession of Azerbaijan to the CoE as a full member.
22 May, 2000 – In the meeting of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights held in Limassol, were set some conditions for Azerbaijan to become a full member of the CoE.
1 June, 2000 – In accordance with the results of the meeting in Limassol, there was concluded an agreement between the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the International Committee of Red Cross on granting access to the latter to hold meetings with prison inmates in Azerbaijan.
12-13 June, 2000 – In the meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the PACE in Rome there was given a positive opinion on accession of Azerbaijan as a full member to the CoE.
13-14 June, 2000 – In the meeting of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights in Paris, decisions taken in Limassol meeting on the accession of Azerbaijan to the CoE were kept in force.
13-14 June, 2000 – The delegation of Italy, which chaired the Committee of Ministers of the CoE, headed by Mr. U.Ragneri, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Azerbaijan. During the meetings of the delegation, which consisted also of the representatives of the Secretariat and the Committee of Ministers of the CoE, with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Chairman of Milli Majlis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the Constitutional Court, were discussed recent steps taken for the accession of Azerbaijan as a full member to the CoE.
26-28 June, 2000 – There was held the regular session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the CoE. At the voting with the participation of 126 parliamentarians, 120 of them voted for, 1 against with 5 remaining neutral, and consequently there was given positive opinion on the accession of Azerbaijan to the CoE.
6 September, 2000 – On behalf of the Member States of the European Union, the Chairmanship (France) made a statement on the request of Azerbaijan and Armenia for accession to the CoE. The statement expressing hope that existing political situation in these countries will develop within certain time span in accordance with the values and principles of the CoE, said that the Member States of the EU, in view of the financial and political aspects of the process of joining of the two, considered it expedient to send the analysis done by the Secretariat on the issue to the GR-EDS for being examined at its meeting that would be held on 11 September, 2000 and to submit the relevant report of the latter to the Committee of Ministers for consideration.
6 September, 2000 – At their 719th meeting, the Deputies: 1) Invited the GR-EDS to examine the request of Azerbaijan and Armenia for membership to the CoE at their meeting on 15 September, 2000 and to present a report on the issue. 2) Agreed to complete at their 724th meeting on 4 October, 2000 the consideration of the issue on the basis of the report of the GR-EDS.
15 September, 2000 – The GR-EDS discussed the accession of Azerbaijan and Armenia to the CoE and decided to continue these discussions at their meeting on 29 September.
10 October, 2000 – Mr. V.Guliyev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, visited Strasbourg and addressed the meeting of the Committee of Ministers. Mr. V.Guliyev in his meetings with the Ambassadors of the Member States, Secretary General of the CoE Mr. W.Schwimmer, Chairman of the PACE Lord Russell-Johnston, Director-General for Political Affairs of the Secretariat of the CoE Mr. Furer, Secretary of the Committee of Ministers Mr. T.Davis, discussed a number of issues of mutual interest.
2-4 November, 2000 – Mr. M.Mammad-Guliyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. I.Farzaliyev, Deputy Head of International Relations Department of Milli Majlis, participated in the meeting of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights and in the Conference of Ministers on Human Rights in Rome on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of signing the European Convention on Human Rights.
7-9 November, 2000 – In their 107th meeting the Committee of Ministers adopted Resolution 14(2000) on the invitation of Azerbaijan to become a member of the CoE. The document reflected the following decisions:
1. Invitation of Azerbaijan to become a member of the CoE and to join its Statute;
2. Determination of the Azerbaijani delegation to the PACE as 6 parliamentarians in number;
3. Determination of the amount of various financial payments of Azerbaijan to the CoE in accordance with the Annex of the Resolution.
In the decision “Armenia and Azerbaijan: Invitation to become members of the CoE” that was adopted in that very meeting, were enshrined the following provisions related to Azerbaijan:
1. To regularly observe democratic development of the country, if necessary by the means of working groups established to this end, in accordance with the correspondence between the Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan in October, 2000;
2. To request the Government of Azerbaijan to submit within a month a reply report to critical points in the statement on the initial comments and conclusions made by the International Election Observation Mission and to correct frauds mentioned therein;
3. To establish a monitoring group of Deputies which will report prior to the 737th (17 January 2001) meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies to be held before the next session of the PACE;
4. To invite the Venice Commission to assist the Azerbaijani authorities with the purpose of reforming the Constitution, electoral law and law on media in conformity with the CoE standards;
5. To request the Azerbaijani Government to strengthen joint efforts with the Armenian Government for achievement of the peaceful resolution of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in accordance with the obligations taken before the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly.
20 November, 2000 – In their 730th meeting the Ministers’ Deputies made the following decisions concerning Azerbaijan:
1. To invite the GR-EDS to include the item titled “The observation of democratic development of Armenia and Azerbaijan” into the agenda of all its meetings prior to the next session of the PACE to be held in January, 2001;
2. To establish the Monitoring Group (GT-SUIVI.AGO) comprising the Permanent Representatives of Austria, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Romania, the Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Germany (in the capacity of the chairman of the GR-EDS) under the chairmanship of the Permanent Representative of Italy.
3-4 January, 2001 – The delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Mr. I.Berzinsh, Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the CoE, including the Ambassadors of Latvia, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden in the said organization visited Baku. The delegation had meetings with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Chairman of Milli Majlis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Constitutional Court and other officials.
6-9 January, 2001 – The GT-SUIVI.AGO headed by Mr. P.E.Ago, Permanent Representative of Italy at the CoE, and consisted of the ambassadors of the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey and Greece visited Baku and had meetings with the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Chairman of Milli Majlis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Constitutional Court, the Chairman of the Central Election Commission and other officials.
17 January, 2001 – At their meeting the Ministers’ Deputies adopted a decision to admit the Republic of Azerbaijan as a full member to the CoE.
25 January, 2001 – There was held an official ceremony in Strasbourg devoted to the accession of the Republic of Azerbaijan as a full member to the CoE. A broad delegation under the leadership of H.E. H.Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, attended the ceremony.
24-27 April, 2001 – There was held the plenary session of the PACE. For the first time, the Azerbaijani delegation to the PACE participated in the session as a full member. During the session, the written statement.
Azerbaijan – NATO
Azerbaijan was among the first countries from the former Soviet Union, who joined the Partnership for Peace (PFP) programme of NATO. The President of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Heydar Aliyev signed the PFP Framework Document on the accession to PFP during his official visit to NATO HQ on 4 May 1994. In order to determine the areas of future cooperation with NATO, Azerbaijan prepared the PFP Presentation document and submitted it to the Alliance in April 1996. Bilateral partnership incorporated such spheres as military cooperation, defense modernization, democratic control of the armed forces, political consultations on security issues, peace support operations, security sector reform, civil emergency planning, security related scientific, economic and environmental cooperation. Since 1996, on the basis of its Presentation Document and Partnership Work Programme prepared by NATO, Azerbaijan has been annually adopting Individual Partnership Programme (IPP), which includes all joint activities and events to be attended by national military and civilian representatives. Annually expanding the scope of its Individual Partnership Programme, Azerbaijan participated in more than 200 NATO/PFP activities and events in 2008 and intends to increase this number further. In 2006, Government of Azerbaijan increased financing of the PFP Programme from 300 000 USD to 850 000 USD. In 2007 this figure was increased to 1.8 million USD. In 2008 and 2009 years this amount was the same – approximately 2 million USD. In 1997 Azerbaijan joined the Planning and Review Process (PARP), being one of the firsts from CIS countries. PARP related activities were aimed at engaging Azerbaijan more closely to NATO’s defense planning for operations. Since then Azerbaijani Armed Forces are undertaking increasing number of so-called Partnership Goals (PGs) based on two-year cycles. PGs are focused on achieving military interoperability with NATO troops through introduction of NATO’s political-military, military, training and technical standards. In 2002 Azerbaijan proposed to extend PfP cooperation to broader security sector issues such as the defense against terrorism, the modernization of the State Border Service and transformation of Internal Troops. At the moment, Azerbaijan has undertaken about 53 Partnership Goals mainly related to national defense and security sectors. In 2002 NATO/EAPC Prague Summit adopted Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) instrument in order to improve cooperation with the Partner nations. In May 2003 Azerbaijan formally applied for joining the IPAP. In May 2004 President of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr. Ilham Aliyev officially submitted the IPAP Presentation Document to the Alliance, which included comprehensive information on the current status of political, economic and security developments in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan and NATO elaborated and approved the Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) in May 2005, on the basis of this Presentation Document. The IPAP covers all major political, defenses, security and security related economic, scientific and environmental spheres. IPAP implementation and update is based on two-year cycles and annual assessment reports, which are considered at the level of North Atlantic Council +Azerbaijan. In August 2007 Azerbaijan has completed first IPAP cycle. The new IPAP document was approved in March 2008. Since the adoption of the first IPAP of Azerbaijan in May 2005 real steps have been made towards its successful implementation, including in the sphere of security sector reform. Taking together all the fields of cooperation, progress of Azerbaijan on implementation of IPAP has been considerable. – Special Presidential decree was issued to task the State Commission, which is composed of the heads of various Ministries, with IPAP’s implementation and defining resources. Since then budget allocations for IPAP and PFP activities have considerably increased. – The progress has been made in the implementation of the most IPAP goals, including those events, which were added and amended during the modification of the IPAP document in autumn 2006. The work has also begun on the elimination of the shortcomings in the field of controlling, directing and planning of the IPAP process. – Work on the National Security Concept has been completed and it was subsequently endorsed by the Government and Parliament on 19 May 2007. The work on the Military doctrine is close to finalization. These two fundamental documents will guide the Strategic Defense Review of the security sector. – Despite the on-going conflict, the process of gradual transformation of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan has been started. Structural changes on the basis of NATO standards are under way within MOD, General Staff and army units. It is planned to complete this process in 2009 integrating needs and requirements identified within the Strategic Defense Review (SDR). – Appropriate measures are being taken for gradual transformation of the State Border Service (SBS) from military structure into a law-enforcement type of organization. Considerable work has been done for the reinforcement of technical capabilities and improvement of human resources management within the State Border Service. – Azerbaijan has already integrated NATO standards into the national military education and training system. – Amendments to the national legislation are being prepared on the establishment of practical policy related to the career development of civilian personal within the defense system. This will contribute to further strengthening of civilian control on the armed forces. – Cooperation in the field of Public Diplomacy and Science, as well as the Trust Fund Project on the cleaning of the unexploded munitions has been continuing with success. The foundation of the Euro-Atlantic Centre within the Azerbaijan State Library in Baku, official registration of NISA (NATO International School of Azerbaijan) as an NGO, the beginning of the implementation of the project of Melange conversion and the conclusion of the second cycle of NATO PFP Saloglu Project (the cleaning of 600 hectares of land of Agstafa region of Azerbaijan from unexploded artillery shells and other ammunition) are the main issues in this direction. Currently the third phase of this project has been started. Deriving from the principle of indivisibility of security in the Euro-Atlantic area, the Republic of Azerbaijan participates in NATO-led peacekeeping operations sanctioned by the UN SC resolutions. During 1999-2008 years Azerbaijan participated in the NATO-led operation in Kosovo (KFOR), but in 2008 withdrew its forces from that region after its unilateral declaration of independence. Azerbaijan makes military and non-military contributions to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Since 20 November 2002, 22 personnel of peacekeeping battalion of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces were deployed for operations in Afghanistan. On 15 January 2008 the number of Azerbaijani military servicemen was increased to total 45 and 19 February 2009 this number was redoubled again. Currently a full company of 90 members of Azerbaijani Armed Forces serve within the ISAF. Republic of Azerbaijan is following closely the future development of Partnership with NATO and continuously contributes to its expansion to wider areas. With regard to the future of the Partnership and the policy of NATO in the region, Azerbaijan considers that the security in Euro-Atlantic area depends on improvement of the capacity of crises management, creation of secure transport corridors, and development of energy security. All of these are essential for the development of Partnership as an institution. The development of Partnership has to give opportunity for the development of security cooperation with NATO on the basis of 3 pillars: political unanimity, legal harmony, practical interoperability. Against the background of the increasing global role of NATO and on the basis of the principles provided for in the Partnership for Peace Framework Document, such development has to ensure security guarantees to Partners, which actively share European values and respect international law. Providing security guarantees would prevent the violation of international law and promote stability in international relations.
Azerbaijan – European Union
One of the foreign policy priorities of Azerbaijan is cooperation with the European Union (www.europa.eu.int). Strategic location of Azerbaijan at the crossroads of Europe and Asia explains strong interest of the European Union member-states in developing political and economic relations with Azerbaijan. In 1998 the EU nominated its Special Envoy to Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan established its Permanent Mission to the European Communities in the year 2000. Today Head of the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan to EU is Arif Mammadov, and Special Envoy of European Commission to Azerbaijan is Antonius de Vries. In July 2003 the EU appointed a Special Representative to the South Caucasus whose mandate is to (a) to assist the countries carry out political and economic reforms, notably in the fields of rule of law, democratization, human rights, good governance, development and poverty reduction; (b) in accordance with existing mechanisms, to prevent conflicts in the region, to assist in the resolution of conflicts, and to prepare the return of peace, including through promoting the return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs); (c) to engage constructively with key national actors neighboring the region; (d) to encourage and to support further cooperation between States of the region, in particular between the States of the South Caucasus, including on economic, energy and transport issues; (e) to enhance EU effectiveness and visibility in the region. Since 1991 Azerbaijan has received ECU 333 mln. Worth of EU humanitarian, technical, food and emergency assistance. On June 22, 1999 Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (signed on April 22, 1996 in Luxemburg) between the EU member-states and Azerbaijan entered into force, thus signifying a higher level of cooperation between our countries. The objectives of the Agreement are as follows: To provide an appropriate framework for the political dialogue between the parties allowing the development of political relations To support Azerbaijan’s efforts to consolidate its democracy and to develop its economy and to complete the transition into a market economy To promote trade and investment and harmonious economic, social, financial, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation As envisaged by the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), Cooperation Council (meets annually) determines major guidelines of cooperation and Cooperation Committee (meets annually) assists the Council in its activities by giving recommendations. Subcommittee on Trade and Economic Issues works under the authority of the Cooperation Committee and discusses trade, investment and other issues related to economic cooperation under the PCA.
So far 5 meetings of the Council (on October 12, 1999, October 10, 2000, October 30, 2001, October 1, 2002, September 30, 2003) and 4 meetings of Committee (on March 27, 2000, 25 June 2001, 12 July, 2002, 09 June 2003) and 4 meetings of Subcommittee (on July 21, 2000, 30 April 2002, March 14, 2003, April 22, 2004) have been held. The EU supports the economic reforms in Azerbaijan by transfer of relevant technical assistance and expertise through TACIS program. (www.tacis.org) TACIS (Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States) program was established in 1991 with the purpose to provide technical assistance to the 12 countries of the former Soviet Union and Mongolia. Under the TACIS indicative program for Azerbaijan, priority is given to the three areas of cooperation: infrastructure, private sector and human resources development. The key TACIS multi-country network projects related to Azerbaijan are TRACECA and INOGATE TRACECA (Transport corridor Europe – Caucasus – Asia) was established in May 1993 at the Conference in Brussels where ministers of trade and transport of the 8 original founder states (5 Central Asian states and 3 South Caucasus states) met (www.traceca.org). It aims to support their political and economic independence by enhancing their capacity to access European and world markets through alternative transport routes and to encourage further regional cooperation among the partner states.
On the initiative of the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Georgia and with the support of EU TACISTRACECA program an international conference on “Restoration of the Historic Silk Road” was held on September 8, 1998 in Baku. Representatives of 32 countries and 12 international organizations took part at the conference. The most important achievement of the conference was the signing by the heads of delegations of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria of the “Basic Multilateral Agreement on International Transport for the Development of the Transport Corridor Europe – Caucasus – Asia” (Basic Agreement) and Technical Annexes to the Basic Agreement on: • international rail transport • international road transport • international commercial maritime navigation • customs procedures and documents handling Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan is the Depositary of the Basic Agreement and its Technical Annexes. To regulate the issues of implementation and the application of the provisions of the Basic Agreement the member- states agreed to establish an Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) consisting of highest intergovernmental authorities of the member-states or their representatives with full authority to take decisions under the Basic Agreement. On February 21, 2001 official opening of the office of the Permanent Secretariat of IGC TRACECA in Baku was held during the visit of the EU high officials: Minister of Foreign Affairs, representative of Swedish presidency in EU Anna Lindh, the Commissioner for External Relations Christopher Patten, SecretaryGeneral/High Representative of Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana. TRACECA project envisages implementation of 25 technical assistance and 11 investment projects with Azerbaijan being a party to 26 of them with total value exceeding 100 mln euro. INOGATE (interstate oil and gas transportation to Europe) is the main regional initiative within the framework of EU assistance to newly-independent states. (www.inogate.org) The signing of the Umbrella Agreement on establishment of interstate oil and gas transportation framework in Kiev in July 1999 by 15 states (including Azerbaijan) laid the legal basis of INOGATE. The first phase of the program stipulates the implementation of 10 projects with total value exceeding 50 mln ECU, of which 5 projects are directly related to Azerbaijan. INOGATE opens up new perspectives for Azerbaijan as well as other newly-independent states to implement trans-boundary projects and acts as a catalyst for attracting investment from international financial institutions and private investment funds, based on advantages of international agreements on transit of hydrocarbon resources.
Azerbaijan – OIC
The development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the OIC is a prioritized direction in our foreign policy and has a strategic importance. Since regaining its independence, our country was the first among the CIS countries that appealed to become a member of the OIC and in 1991 has joined the organization. At that time, with limited and poor informative capabilities, it was one of the crucial issues for Azerbaijan, which was exposed of the aggression by the Armenia, to get a support from Islamic Ummah for his just position and to convey grievous consequences to the world community. The delegation from the OIC already visited Azerbaijan in 1991 to study the problem and explore the peaceful means for settlement of the conflict. Until then, the OIC had had consultations with the UN, Armenia, Turkey and Russia. Non-constructive position of official Erevan put an end to any consultations on the issue and the unanimous position of the OIC on the aggression by Armenia against Azerbaijan had been formed. However, in September 1992, the final document of regular meeting of the OIC foreign ministers at the session of the UN GA included a relevant paragraph on the “Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict”, but it was impossible to benefit duly the resources of the OIC and effectively pursue and express the interest of Azerbaijan within the organization at that time. Since the May 1994, after giving an ambassador of Azerbaijan to Saudi Arabia a mandate of permanent representative of our country to the General Secretariat of the OIC, according to the relevant order of Nationwide Leader Haydar Aliyev, our embassy started to effectively work with the General Secretariat of the organization and its relevant bodies, including the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah. Also, the visit of Nationwide Leader Haydar Aliyev to Saudi Arabia in July 1994, his Umrah pilgrimage of Holy Mecca and productive meetings during the visit increased the interest of all Islamic nations towards our country, creating a foundation for the further development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and the OIC.
The meetings were held by Nationwide Leader with the OIC Secretary General in Baku in November 1994, his participation in the 7th Summit of Heads of States and Governments of the OIC member countries in Casablanca and his speech upon the kind request of the OIC Secretary General as well as some member countries on behalf of Asian countries group have strengthen the position of Azerbaijan within the organization. As a result, for the first time in the history of the OIC Summits, the political resolution on the “ArmenianAzerbaijan conflict” was adopted in Casablanca and since then it was achieved to regularly include the issue of the “Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict” into the list of problems being discussed in the framework of the cooperation between the UN and the OIC. Also, as a result of purposeful activity with both the OIC General Secretariat and member countries, the relevant resolutions on the economic assistance to Azerbaijan and on the destruction and desecration of Islamic historical and cultural relics and shrines in the occupied Azerbaijan territories, resulting from the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan, were included to the agenda of the OIC and adopted unanimously by the member countries in the following Summits. It must be noted that by strengthening and changing the name of political resolution with tireless efforts of Azerbaijan side and adopting it under the title of “resolution on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan” for the fist time at the 24th OIC Foreign Ministers Conference in Jakarta in December 1996 and at the 8th Summit of the Heads of States and Governments of member countries of the OIC in Tehran in December 1997 played an important role in bringing the just position of Azerbaijan to the attention of the world community. Let us remind that despite strongly condemning the Armenian aggression by the member countries, demanding the withdrawal of occupation forces from the occupied Azerbaijan territories immediately without any reservation, the regular reports by Secretary General on the problem, including relevant provisions into the final statements of meetings in the framework of the OIC, assessment of various illegal elections in the so-called “Nagorno-Karabakh republic” as unrecognized an a complete contradiction with the norms of international law were followed by the dissatisfaction of Armenia towards member countries, it caused opposite resonance and desperately then needed humanitarian aid activity for Azerbaijan was realized by both the OIC bodies and member countries on the basis of abovementioned resolutions. Azerbaijan, by its turn, has demonstrated constructive, definite and unfailing position in discussing the fundamental problems of Islamic Ummah and adopting decision and resolutions, especially, regarding the ArabIsrael conflict and Palestine problem which are the main aims of foundation and activity of the OIC. In recent years, the relations between Azerbaijan and the OIC have stepped up to the qualitatively new level. Undoubtedly, being in the wartime conditions during the first years of its membership in the organization, the main aim of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy was to bring reasons, goals and grievous results of Armenian aggression to the attention of the world community, but the cooperation with the OIC was not limited to this problem and many-field, mutually beneficial relations were prioritized.
The participation of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan H.E. Ilham Aliyev in the 3rd Extraordinary Summit of the OIC in Mecca in 2005, holding the 33rd OIC Foreign Ministers Conference in 19- 21 June 2006 in Baku in his initiative and International Forum on “Expanding the Role of Women in CrossCultural Dialogue” in the initiative of First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Ms. Mehriban Aliyeva in 10-11 June 2008 in Baku, the OIC Tourism Ministers Baku Conference, the international conference on the “Role of Media in Development of Tolerance and Mutual Understanding” and such a conferences and meetings hosted by Azerbaijan can be assessed as a part of abovementioned policy. Azerbaijan has an intensive cooperation with various bodies of the OIC, also. From this point of view, the activity of First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Ms. Mehriban Aliyeva is highly appreciated. As a result of these activities, Director General of the ISESCO Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri presented the diploma on Goodwill Ambassador of the ISESCO to Ms. Mehriban Aliyeva for her work to bring civilizations closer in 26 November 2006. Also, Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoghlu, participating in the International Forum on “Expanding the Role of Women in Cross-Cultural Dialogue” held in 10-11 June 2008 in Baku, presented the diploma on Special Envoy of the OIC on Humanitarian Affairs to First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of Heydar Aliyev Foundation Ms. Mehriban Aliyeva for her activity in the humanitarian field. It is worth notice that the first woman whom such a high names awarded by the organizations of Islamic countries is First Lady of Azerbaijan. The abovementioned resolutions in our interests were adopted also at the 11th OIC Summit held in Senegal in 13-14 March 2008 and 35th Session of the OIC Foreign Ministers in Uqanda in 10-11 June of the same year and the member countries once again strongly condemned the Armenian aggression at the final documents of these two meetings, demanding freedom of the occupied territories without any reservation. It is also notice worth that the revised Charter of the OIC was adopted at the 11th Summit and inclusion of the provision on support by the member countries for the restoration of complete sovereignty and territorial integrity of any Member States under occupation, resulting from aggression, to the “Objective and Principles” part of the Charter, as a result of tireless and purposeful work done by Azerbaijan delegation, has an exclusive importance in formulating our future foreign policy. It is also important that the position of the OIC member countries was decisive in adopting the resolution on the “Situation in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan” at the 62nd Session of the UN GA in 14 March 2008.
Azerbaijan – GUAM
GUAM is a regional grouping of five states which includes the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and the Ukraine founded as a political, economic and strategic alliance aimed at overcoming common risks and threats and strengthening their independence and sovereignty. During the years of cooperation GUUAM became an important structure based upon common values of recognition of norms and principles of international law, including respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, non-interference to internal affairs and inadmissibility of foreign military presence on the territory of other states, cooperation and mutually beneficial partnership, mutual interests and ties with each other, solidarity in approaching and coordinating efforts with a view of overcoming threats to its security. Cooperation among delegations of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine started in 1996 in Vienna, Austria, at the CFE Treaty Conference, where four states issued joint statements and proposed common initiatives. Establishment of GUAM consultative forum consisting of four states (Azerbaijan, Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine) took place on October 10, 1997 in Strasbourg in the course of the Council of Europe Summit, during which a Joint Communique of the Presidents of Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Moldova was adopted. In this document the Presidents stressed the necessity of developing quadrilateral cooperation for promoting stability and strengthening security in Europe on the basis of principles of respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability of the state frontiers, democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. According to the results of the GUAM meeting Washington Declaration was adopted, where the Presidents noted that cooperation within the GUAM is not directed against third countries or a group of countries and membership is open to any country which subscribes to the fundamental principles and goals of the GUAM. On September 6, 2000 the meeting of the Presidents of GUAM member states in the new format took place in New York in connection with the UN Millennium Summit during the fifty-fifth session of the UN General Assembly. At that meeting they adopted New York Memorandum that envisages intensifying cooperation within GUAM by giving it multilevel character. To this aim, it was deemed expedient to convene regular summits at the level of Heads of State at least once a year, and meetings at the level of Ministers for Foreign Affairs at least twice a year. The Committee of National Coordinators (CNC) shall hold regular sessions on a quarterly basis. Creation of conditions for interagency and direct contacts between corresponding state bodies of GUAM countries was defined as the main task of cooperation. Effective functioning of EuropeCaucasus-Asia transport corridor and development of its infrastructure was recognized as a top priority. On June 7, 2001 in Yalta the Summit of the GUAM Presidents took place. It became a crucial event in formation and institutionalization of this regional organization as an international structure. Yalta Charter of GUUAM, signed by the Presidents in the course of the Summit, determines purposes, principles and directions of cooperation of the member states of the Organization. Grounds of the organizational structure of GUAM laid down in the Charter have, in fact, fixed the existing mechanism of cooperation of the member states, efficiency of which was proved in practice. According to Yalta Charter, GUAM presidency is carried out by the member states in alphabetical order during a period between the meetings of the Heads of State. The next meeting of the Heads of States of GUAM members took place on July 20, 2002 in Yalta, where the Presidents decided to strengthen the GUAM organizational legal basis and further develop interaction with the purpose of coming out to a qualitatively new, practical level of cooperation. The Heads of States signed the Declaration on Common Efforts to Ensure Stability and Security in the Region, in which they stated determination of their countries to provide political, legal and organizational basis for overcoming the challenges of international terrorism, separatism, intolerance and extremism. Signing of the Agreement on Cooperation among the Governments of GUAM Participating States in the Field of Combat Against Terrorism, Organized Crime and Other Dangerous Types of Crimes has become an important step in this direction. During following GUAM Yalta Summit on 4 July 2003 the participants of the meeting marked with satisfaction that for the last year cooperation in GUAM framework has left to the stage of realization of concrete projects and programs in priority directions with attraction of the third states and international organizations. The special attention has been given to questions of ensuring effective and secure functioning of transport corridors, fight against terrorism, organized crime, arms and drug trafficking and illegal migration. At that meeting along with other important documents the Agreement on Establishment of the GUAM Virtual Center for combating terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and other dangerous types of crimes and GUAM Interstate Information Management System (IIMS) as well as Memorandum on Understanding among the GUAM Participating States on Trade and Transport Facilitation (TTF) were signed.
The next meeting of the Presidents of GUAM is planned to be conducted under Georgian chairmanship in Georgia on 14-15 June 2004. It is expected that this meeting will be commemorated by the completion of the institutionalization of GUAM as a regional organization and adoption of the Regional Strategy and Action Plan for TTF project and a package of working documents including essential legal and technical instruments, plans and programs necessary for proper functioning of the Virtual Center and IIMS. The GUAM countries cooperate closely in the following fields:
GUAM countries agreed to strengthen and improve the mechanisms of consultations and coordination of actions within the framework of international organizations such as UN, OSCE, CE, NATO and EU and to promote actively the practice of joint initiatives and statements at various levels. Cooperation in the field of providing security of transport corridors GUAM countries attach great importance to the issue of security and effective functioning of its transport corridors. The corridors of GUAM states play a crucial role in strengthening their sovereignty and independence, providing for their sustainable development and tightening links between these countries and western community. In the light of the aforesaid, GUAM has launched cooperation with some non-member states and organizations. As a result the joint “GUAM-US Framework Program on trade and transportation facilitation, ensuring border and customs control, combating terrorism, organized crime and drugs proliferation” has been concluded. Nowadays, in the scope of this Framework Program the two major projects are at the stage of implementation: 1) GUAM Trade and Transport Facilitation project and 2) project on establishment of the GUAM Virtual Center on combating terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and other dangerous types of crime (VC) and Interstate Information Management System (IIMS). Cooperation in the field of fight against terrorism and organized crime The fight against terrorism and other illegal activities as well as security of energy and transport corridors remain the major issues on GUAM agenda. These days GUAM efforts are underway to build an effective mechanism for counter-terrorism cooperation and coordination based on common values and interests. Its two main projects, implemented under the above-mentioned GUAM-US Framework Program, are the “Project on Establishment of the GUAM Virtual Center for combating terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and other dangerous types of crimes” and the “Project on Creation of the GUAM Interstate Information Management System (IIMS)”. It should be noted that Azerbaijan’s success in counter-terrorism activities has brought to its role as a coordinator of the GUAM Working Group on Fight against terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking.
The five states confirmed their commitment to the continuation of economic reforms aimed at developing democratic societies, free markets and the active integration of their countries into the global economy. Nowadays, the GUAM states cooperate on creating of the Free Trade Area based on equality and mutual benefits for its participating states and implementation of the GUAM Trade and Transport Facilitation project.
Taking into consideration the vast cultural heritage of the GUAM countries, their input into the world civilization and wide prospects of the GUAM initiative for creation of the Europe-Caucasus-Asia cultural corridor, the GUAM states have signed Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Culture within the Framework of GUAM for 2002-2005. Moreover international conference “East-West Inter-cultural dialogue among the states of GUAM: creation of Europe-Caucasus-Asia cultural corridor” took place in Baku on 9-10 June 2003. In joint declaration adopted according to the results of the meeting, the conference participants stressed the need for the development of multilateral cultural cooperation through implementation of concrete projects.
• The supreme body of GUAM is the annual meeting of the Presidents of GUAM member states.
• The executive body of GUUAM is the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of GUAM states.
• The working body of GUAM is the Committee of National Coordinators (CNC) of GUAM consisting of coordinators, one from each GUAM member state.
• The Information Office of GUAM in Kyiv is charged with carrying out functions of informational support of the National Coordinators of GUAM, state and non-state structures of GUAM Participating States in realization of cooperation in different spheres.
• Coordination of cooperation between GUAM countries on the branch level is laid upon seven Working Groups, that is for energy; transport; trade and economics; information technology; culture, science and education; tourism; fight against terrorism, organized crime and drug trafficking.
International legal instruments adopted within the framework of GUUAM
• GUAM Presidents Strasbourg Communique, 1997;
• GUAM Presidents Washington Statement, 1999;
• GUAM Presidents New York Memorandum, 2000;
• GUAM Presidents New York Communique, 2000;
• GUAM Yalta Charter, 2001;
• Final Communique of the GUAM Yalta Summit, 2001;
• Final Communique of the GUAM Yalta Summit, 2002;
• Final Communique of the GUAM Yalta Summit, 2003;
• Convention of GUAM Member States on Rendering Mutual Assistance in Consular Issues, 2001;
• Statute of the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of GUAM States, 2002;
• Agreement on Establishment of Free Trade Area among the GUAM Participating States, 2002;
• Agreement on Establishment of the Business Council of GUAM Participating States, 2002;
• Provisional Statute of the GUAM Information Office in Kyiv, 2002;
• Decision of the Heads of GUAM Participating States on the Status of Observers of GUAM Activities, 2002;
• Declaration of the Heads of States on Common Efforts to Ensure Stability and Security in the Region, 2002;
• Agreement on Cooperation among the Governments of GUAM Participating States in the Field of Combat Against Terrorism, Organized Crime and Other Dangerous Types of Crimes, 2002;
• Protocol on Cooperation in the Field of Culture within the Framework of GUAM for 2002- 2005, 2002;
• Agreement on Establishment of the GUAM Virtual Center for combating terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and other dangerous types of crimes and GUAM Interstate Information Management System (IIMS), 2003;
• Memorandum of Understanding among the GUAM Participating States on Trade and Transport Facilitation, 2003; • Agreement among the Governments of the GUAM Participating States on cooperation in the field of prevention of emergencies and liquidation of its consequences, 2003;
• Agreement on cooperation in the sphere of education among the ministries of education of the GUUAM Participating States, 2003;
• Agreement on Cooperation among the Governments of the GUAM Participating States on mutual assistance and cooperation in customs issues, 2003;
• Protocol on Cooperation among the State Border Guard Services of the GUAM Participating States, 2003;
• Protocol on Cooperation among Academies of Science of the GUUAM Participating States on science and technology, 2003;
• Number of GUAM-US joint statements, 2001-2003;
• Other instruments related to the cooperation in separate spheres.
Azerbaijan – UNESCO
UNESCO – the specialized UN agency is the largest intergovernmental forum for the cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture. Its Constitution was signed on November 16, 1945 in London, and on November 4, 1946 the agency, consisting of 20 member states, was officially launched. For this specialized United Nations agency, it is not enough to build classrooms in devastated countries or to publish scientific breakthroughs. Education, Social and Natural Science, Culture and Communication are the means to a far more ambitious goal: to build peace in the minds of men. As defined by Article I of the Constitution of UNESCO, the purpose of the Organization is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations. Today UNESCO is composed of 193 Member States. It maintains close cooperation with UN and its specialized agencies, also has contractual relations with the leading international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, The Organization of African Unity, the League of Arab States, ISESCO, etc. UNESCO actively cooperates with more than 600 leading international and non-governmental organizations. UNESCO is composed of three main governing bodies: the General Conference, the Executive Board and the Secretariat. The General Conference is the supreme body of UNESCO. It meets every two years, and is attended by Member States and Associate Members, together with observers for non-Member-States, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Each country has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget. The General Conference determines the main lines of work of the Organization. Its duty is to set the programmes and the budget of UNESCO for the next two years. It also elects the Members of the Executive Board and appoints, every four years, the Director-General. The working languages of the General Conference are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. The Executive Board, in a sense, assures the overall management of UNESCO. It prepares the work of the General Conference and sees that its decisions are properly carried out. The functions and responsibilities of the Executive Board are derived primarily from the Constitution and from rules or directives laid down by the General Conference. Every two years the General Conference assigns specific tasks to the Board. Other functions stem from agreements concluded between UNESCO and the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other intergovernmental organizations. It has 58 members are elected by the General Conference, largely, based on the diversity of the cultures and their geographical origin. The Executive Board meets twice a year. The Secretariat is based in Paris and it functions permanently. The Secretariat employs civil servants from some 170 countries. The office of the DirectorGeneral of UNESCO has been held by Mrs. Irina Bokova (Bulgaria) since 15 November 2009. Along with its headquarters in Paris, UNESCO has a wide network of regional bureaus, institutions and centers in various countries of the world. Azerbaijan is covered by the UNESCO Moscow Office.
Azerbaijan – UNESCO Relations
After restoration of its independence in 1991, the Republic of Azerbaijan has carried out the policy of the cooperation with a number of significant international and regional organizations. The Republic of Azerbaijan, deciding to cooperate with UNESCO providing its member states with the opportunities to benefit from assistance of high-level experts, technical aids, as well as the training of scientific and pedagogical personnel and the participation in global scientific projects, joined the Organization on July 3, 1992. The delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Hasan Hasanov participated in the 27th Session of the General Conference of UNESCO in October 1993. The head of the delegation noted that Azerbaijan participated in such a significant event for the first time and provided brief information about Azerbaijan. The most important was that during the session, the 500th anniversary of the birth of Azeri poet Muhammad Fizuli was included in the UNESCO List of the dates of birth of the outstanding persons to be celebrated. The most significant step in the development of UNESCO-Azerbaijan relations was taken in the meeting of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev with the Director General of the UNESCO Mr. Federico Mayor during his official visit to the Republic of France in December 1993. During the meeting, the Parties discussed the perspective plans for enhancement and further development of the cooperation between them. According to Article VII each Member State shall make such arrangements as suit its particular conditions for the purpose of associating its