Membership of Non-Aligned Movement 'to raise Azerbaijan’s credibility'

Thu 26 May 2011 08:56 GMT | 12:56 Local Time

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News.Az interviews Musa Gasimli, professor, member of the Azerbaijani Parliament.

What necessitated Azerbaijan’s admission to the Non-Aligned Movement? How can the country benefit from this organization?

I welcome Azerbaijan’s admission to the Non-Aligned Movement. As it is already known, the organization was officially founded by 25 countries in Belgrade conference in September 1961.

At present, the organization has over 100 members. Therefore, Azerbaijan’s accession to the Non-Aligned Movement gives Azerbaijan more chances to maneuver in its foreign policy.  

It is clear that a country that has acceded to a particular organization is forced to act in a limited way and can not take steps beyond the rules of the game. In this regard, we should draw attention to Turkey's membership in NATO. All steps by Turkey must conform to the rules and requirements of this organization. Therefore, I believe that admission to the Non-Aligned Movement was the result Azerbaijan's independence policy, and the current situation fully meets the interests of the country. Admission to the Non-Aligned Movement improves mobility and increases chances of maneuvering in Azerbaijan's foreign policy.

Are claims of some observers that by joining the Non-Aligned Movement, Azerbaijan avoids persistent proposals to accede to NATO or CSTO grounded?

As you know, there was only NATO and Warsaw Pact bloc during the Cold War. The latter collapsed and now there is North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, and Collective Security Treaty Organization, CSTO. NATO is led by U.S. and CSTO is led by Russia. Accession to these organizations does not meet Azerbaijan’s interests.

The past period showed that member countries of CSTO, especially Russia, did not assist in resolving Azerbaijan’s problems just as NATO led by the United States did not display a resolute stance in this matter. NATO Left half way even those countries that sought its membership causing public and political tension inside these countries.

Moreover, Azerbaijan will always have opportunity and sufficient time to join blocs and Azerbaijan does not need to rush to implement it. Countries that join blocs always see the state from the opposite bloc as an opponent. But Azerbaijan has not joined any one of the blocs and can maintain bilateral relations with member countries of both NATO and CSTO.

On one hand, Azerbaijan may cooperate with Turkey, a member of NATO, in military-industrial sector, on the other hand, can cooperate with CSTO countries in the field of military education. In this regard, it should be noted that the country, part of a particular bloc, lacks such a chance to maneuver. And I think that Azerbaijan’s membership in the Non-Aligned Movement is not due to pressure, but rather due to the desire of a full independent foreign policy.

May Azerbaijan’s membership in this organization hinder the programs the country implements with NATO?

Azerbaijan's entry to the Non-Aligned Movement does not in any way cast a shadow over implementation of projects and programs with NATO. On the contrary, Azerbaijan can at the same time enhance cooperation with other organizations. Azerbaijan has practiced this for many years. Azerbaijan participates in NATO's Partnership for Peace program, and at the same time cooperates with Russia in military sphere. It also has bilateral relations in military field with CSTO countries.

What role Azerbaijan’s membership will play in the Non-Aligned Movement? May super powers, which try to involve the country with the NATO membership or CSTO, lose interest in cooperation with Baku after this?

On the contrary, I believe that Azerbaijan’s inclusion into the Non-Aligned Movement will raise country’s significance for NATO and CSTO. After all, Azerbaijan’s admission to some bloc would mean new rivals from a different bloc.

How will Azerbaijan’s membership in this organization impact credibility of the country in the region?

I believe that membership in the Non-Aligned Movement will increase credibility of Azerbaijan not only in the region but also worldwide. As we know, Russia and Iran are not interested in NATO’s presence in the Caucasus region. As is known, the distance between Azerbaijan and NATO countries is far enough. Good relations with neighboring states are priority for Azerbaijan's foreign policy.

I believe that Azerbaijan's membership in the Non-Aligned Movement will boost national security, ensure national interests, and promote the country's role in international arena. Both NATO and the CSTO member countries and the Caucasus countries will be seeking to raise the level of cooperation with Azerbaijan.

Those who believe NATO will solve the Karabakh problem once Azerbaijan is admitted to this organization are wrong. At the same time, those who believe that Russia will assist in returning occupied territories when Azerbaijan is admitted to CSTO are untrue. As you know, Russia renders every assistance to Armenia. This means that Azerbaijan does not need to defend interests of others, but its won interests.

Lala B.




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