The relations between
Azerbaijan and the Organization of Islamic Conference (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 “Armenian-Azerbaijan 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 Arab-Israel 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 Cross-Cultural 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.