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NAM Summit unique opportunity for Azerbaijan to wield international clout amid global turmoil

Today Azerbaijan is holding a Summit-Level Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group on the fight against COVID-19 with high-ranking officials from the forum of 120 countries in presence that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.

After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide.

Hosting a summit-level meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Baku, and taking over the chairmanship of the second-largest group for another year promises a myriad of opportunities for Azerbaijan in its drive to turn the entire region into an island of development and cooperation serving the interests of peoples.

Azerbaijan’s chairmanship by the end of this year can be conducive and pave the way for the solution of grand tasks remaining incomplete so far for covert and overt intentions of superstates with their own interests in the region. One of the major and yet not completely resolved issues high on Azerbaijan’s agenda is bringing Karabakh under Baku’s control and signing a peace deal with Armenia.

“Azerbaijan’s chairmanship of the NAM for four consecutive years, especially at a time of the pandemic, and active role in promoting the necessity for the fair distribution of vaccines among world nations added more value to the country’s reputation. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan has great expectations from the forum in the resolution of its ongoing conflict in the region,” Turab Rzayev, said in a comment for Azernews on the NAM summit in Baku on 2 March.

The political analyst also commented on Azerbaijan’s active involvement in the NAM and its benefits for Azerbaijan in particular, when great powers voted against Azerbaijan in the II Karabakh War.

Biz öz gücümüzü, birliyimizi, nümayiş etdirməliyik

“The Non-Aligned Movement has been crucial in matters of security and stability related to Karabakh, and it is and will be in the future. As for the significance of the NAM for Azerbaijan, it is enough to look at the 44-day Patriotic War. At that time, the great powers, including China, the USA, Britain, France, and Russia backed a UN resolution against Azerbaijan. However, only as a result of the efforts of NAM members, Azerbaijan prevented the passage of this resolution,” the expert said.

Turab Rzayev also touched on Azerbaijan’s cooperation with NUM toward the normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. However, the political analyst pointed out the capacity of the forum in terms of its efficiency in the conflict solution.

“Of course, we will continue to support the steps taken by the NAM on Azerbaijani-Armenian relations. However, we must consider one thing, that is, in the absence of resolving power of the UN resolutions, the messages given by the NAM in some way cannot be said to have a direct effect. Of course, this will be rather supportive for Azerbaijan.”

According to Farahila Babayeva, senior specialist at the Caucasus politics department under ANAS Institute of Caucasus Studies, Azerbaijan’s chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement for another year can be instrumental in bolstering regional and global solidarity and maintaining peace.

Emphasizing Azerbaijan’s priority for maintaining peace and stability in the region, the expert added that the Non-Aligned Movement will grant the opportunity for Azerbaijan to exert a stronger influence on geopolitical processes on two fronts – regional and global.

“Benefiting from the chance of leading NAM until next year, Azerbaijan will have the opportunity to expand the area of activity at the regional level in the direction of solving the ongoing conflict in the region based on the principles of international law,” she opined.

Further to comments from Turab Rzayev, the expert spoke about the expectations of Azerbaijan, from the summit, especially in the matter of full resolution of the Karabakh conflict without delay.

“Certainly, Azerbaijan’s expectation from this summit is to achieve its goal through efforts to eliminate once and for all the word ‘conflict’ in relation to Azerbaijan’s Karabakh. Because for Azerbaijan establishing peace and security in the South Caucasus is fundamental. In order to realize all this as quickly as possible, Azerbaijan and other member countries expect the Non-Aligned Movement to take a special place in the UN Security Council in resolving conflicts. Because the situation after WWII ensured that only those five countries (China, USA, Great Britain, France, and Russia) have a say, and according to the current situation, they can influence all decisions.

Given the confrontation between Russia and China on the one hand, and the West on the other, we can clearly see that it does not work effectively in all conflicts. If the Non-Aligned Movement is given a seat in the UN Security Council, those countries can act by voting, as in practice.”