On October 29, 1991 soon after the restoration of its independence the Republic of Azerbaijan applied to the UN General Assembly and to the international community with the request to join the United Nations. On March 2, 1992 the UN General Assembly at its 46th session adopted the resolution on the admission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations.
The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United Nations was opened in New York on May 6, 1992 and in November 1992 the Permanent Mission of the United Nations to Azerbaijan was established in Baku.
From the very first day Azerbaijan used the platform of the United Nations to draw attention to the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, to provide the international community with true and comprehensive information in order to shape an objective public opinion, to use the United Nations potential for peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Due to the continuing Armenian aggression, Azerbaijan in accordance with Article 39 of the UN Charter called for the UNGA and the UNSC President to stop the aggression, to prevent the violation of the norms of international law and the UN Charter and to settle the conflict by peaceful, political means. In response to the call in March 1992 the delegation headed by the special representative of the UN Secretary-General, former U.S. state secretary C. Vance was sent to Baku, Yerevan and the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan to observe the situation there, and then the results of the visit were reported to the UN Security Council.
During 1992-1993 the UN Security Council adopted four resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) and made six statements of the UNSC President on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. Each of the abovementioned resolutions and statements confirms the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, condemns the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and adjacent territories, demands the immediate cease-fire, suspension of hostilities and withdrawal of all occupying forces from the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Expressing great concern on the humanitarian situation in Azerbaijan, which continued to deteriorate seriously, and the number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) in Azerbaijan, which exceeded 1 million, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution "Emergency international assistance to refugees and displaced persons in Azerbaijan" (A/RES/48/114) at the 85th plenary meeting in 1993.
During the period of 1992 to 1996 the UN Secretary-General and the Security Council President 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. The UN General Assembly in its resolution "Cooperation between United Nations and Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)" reaffirmed territorial integrity of Azerbaijan ("the conflict in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan").
The UN Secretary-General B.Butros Ghali's visit to Baku in October 1994 had a great significance in developing the relations between Azerbaijan and the UN. Being closely informed about the socio-political devastating consequences and economic losses as a result of Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan, the UN Secretary-General took decision to strengthen support and engagement of the UN agencies and institutions to resolve existing troubles and problems.
The President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the 49th UN General Assembly session held in September 1994 and at the special meeting dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the UN in October 1995 called for the world community to increase international efforts to put an end to the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan. In September 2000, President Heydar Aliyev at the UN Millennium Summit, once more voiced the position of Azerbaijan on the resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
President Ilham Aliyev at the 59th session of UNGA in September 21, 2004 stated with regret that the provisions of four UNSC resolutions had not still been implemented and suggested to develop its working mechanism.
On October 29, 2004 at a meeting of the UN General Assembly the resolution on "The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan" was put on the agenda at the initiative of the delegation of Azerbaijan and was adopted. The resolution was reaffirmed at the UNGA meeting on September 7, 2006, at the 60th session of the 98th plenary meeting of the UNGA, held on March 14, 2008 and at the 86th session of the 62nd plenary meeting of the UNGA. The resolution condemns the resettlement of Armenians to the occupied territories, the setting fires there, calls to implement four resolutions of the Security Council and to withdraw the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The resolution confirms the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and demands to return the refugees to their homelands.
From the very beginning of its membership in the United Nations Azerbaijan has been working actively to develop mutual relations and to diversify the cooperation with this prestigious international organization, to occupy the proper place in the international community, to act as an independent state in the settlement of vital international issues, to make a contribution to the preservation of international security and peace.
Azerbaijan recognizes the leading role of the United Nations, first of all, in establishing and maintaining the international peace and security, as well as in sustainable development and democratization. Azerbaijan supports the idea of carrying out the reforms in the UNSC and increasing the role of UNGA so as the organization will be able to tackle the problems and challenges of the twenty-first century.
President of Azerbaijan I. Aliyev at the 58th session of the UNGA in September 2003 stated that the organizational reforms have become the most important issue. He proposed to revise some of the UN mechanisms of decision-making, in particular, to reconsider the right to veto of the Security Council permanent members. In September 2004, at the 59th session, the head of state of Azerbaijan said that "the UN Security Council should be expanded and its working methods must be more transparent, flexible, responsive and democratic. The twenty-first century threats, risks and challenges should be responded to more quickly."
Azerbaijan cooperates with a wide range of specialized UN agencies and bodies – UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, UNESCO, UNCTAD, IAEA and etc. in political, economic, scientific and technical, cultural and humanitarian fields in a very active and effective manner.
The cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is focused on the alleviation of conditions for children and teenagers of the refugees and IDPs. Azerbaijan was a member of the UNICEF Executive Board for the terms 1995-1997 and 1998-2000.
Azerbaijan has been actively participating in the work of other various UN bodies and agencies. Azerbaijan was a member of the Commission on the Status of Women (2000-2002). It 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 the appropriate UN agencies and bodies, such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). Different projects and programmes aimed at improving the living standards, structural adjustments of the economy are carried out in close cooperation with them.
Particularly, UNDP has provided an 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). The UNDP support to the ARRA has facilitated the effective coordination of work in this sector by the World Bank, the 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 the employment and stimulate the economy the UNDP helps 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, the 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 IDPs 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 educational, scientific 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’s Decree Azerbaijan established the National Commission for UNESCO.
Different Ministries and Agencies of Azerbaijan cooperate directly with their appropriate partners within the UN system (for example, the Ministry of Health and the 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 on the "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 well-known 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 fora.
Azerbaijan actively takes part in the election process by nominating its representatives to the appropriate UN agencies and bodies. As it was mentioned, Azerbaijan was a member of the UNICEF Executive Board for the terms 1995-1997 and 1998-2000, the Commission of the Status of Women in 2000-2002, the Committee on the Sustainable Development in 2002-2004. Azerbaijan was elected a member of the ECOSOC for the period of 2003-2005 and Human Rights Council for the term of 2006-2009.
Due to the increased attention of the international community and the UN in particular 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).
On October 24, 2011 Azerbaijan gained an overwhelming victory, winning an absolute majority of 129 from 155 votes in the elections for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the term of 2012-2013. Azerbaijan has become the first country among the South Caucasus and Central Asia countries elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. President Ilham Aliyev at the meeting of the Security Council in May 2012 stated that the victory of Azerbaijan at the elections for the membership of the UN Security Council is a result of the achievements of country’s diplomacy in the international arena, of the growing role of the country in world and in regional affairs.
Since joining the United Nations an 2 March 1992, Azerbaijan has consistently demonstrated its strong commitment to the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and international law and has staunchly supported the United Nations.
Azerbaijan served as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for the first time in its history after winning the vacancy on the 15-member body available for the Group of Eastern European States during voting in the United Nations General Assembly on 24 October 2011.
Shortly after Azerbaijan’s election to the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member, Presidebt Ilham Aliyev declared that his nation’s priorities would be to promote justice and the supremacy of international law enshrined in the Charter of thr United Nations. Guided by this vision, during its membership,Azerbaijanhas spared no effort to contribute to discharging by the Security Council of its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
Azerbaujan presided over the Security Council in May 2012 and October 2013. During those two months, the Council held 30 public and private meetings and 29 closed consultations and adopted seven resolutions, three presidential statements to the press.
A centerpiece of Azerbaijan’s presidency in May 2012 was the high level meeting on strengthening international coorperation in the implementation of counter-terrorism obligations, held on 4 May. As an outcome of the meeting, the Council adopted a presidential statement (see document S/PRST/2012/17 in theannex), in which it reiterated its strong and unequivocal condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; noted the changing nature and character of terrorism; recalled Member States’ obligations to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State and to refrain from providing any form of support to entities or persons involved in or associated with ter-rorist acts; reaffirmed that effective counter-terrorism measures and respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law were complementary and mutually reinforcing; and stressed the importance of respect and understanding for religious and cultural diversity throughout the world. The Council also emphasized the need for more enhanced cooperation and solidarity among Member States and with United Nations entities and subsidiary bodies with a view to enhancing the individual capabilities of Member States to effectively implement their counter-terrorism obligations.
With regard to various issues pertaining to the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan has consistently stressed the importance of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and the need to implement the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and put an end to impunity for the most serious international crimes commited during the conflict.
Over the past two years, Azerbaijan submitted a number of reports on various aspects of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which were circulated as documents of the General Assembly and the Security Council. Among them are the regular reports on ceasfire violations by the armed forces of Armenia and illegal activities in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, the report on the international legal rights af the Azerbaijani internally displaced persons and the Republic of Armenia’s responsibility (see A/66/787-S/2012/289), a memorandum entitled “The crime in Khojaly: perpetrators, qualification and responsibility under international law” (see A/67/753-S/2013/106) and a research on non-compliance by the Republic of Armenia with Security Council resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993) and 884 (1993) (see A/67/875-S/2013/313).
On 30 May, Azerbaijan organized an informal Arria-formula meeting of the Security Council on the theme “Peacful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution: mediation, judical settlement and justice”. The purpose of the meeting was to generate discussions among the members of the Security Council and other participants on the peaceful settlement of disputes, conflict prevention and resolution, and highlight the role of mediation, judicial settlement and justice in promoting durable peace and reconciliation based on international law. More than sixty percent of the Council’s agenda items are related to Africa, and half of the United Nations peacekeeping operations are deployed in the continent. During the presidency of Azerbaijanof the Security Council in May 2012 and October 2013, the Council undertook missions to West Africa from 18 to 24 May 2012, and to Africa’s Great Lakesregion from 3 to 9 October. As part of the latter mission, on 8 October, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the Security Council held their 7th annual joint consultative meeting at the African Union Headquarters, in Addis Adaba. A joint communiqué was adopted and issued later as a document of the Security Council (S/2013/611). Besides, on 31 October, under the chairmanship of the Permanent Representative ofAzerbaijan, the Security Council held an informal interactive dialogue with the Contact Group of the Executive Council of the African Union on theInternational Crimnal Court to discuss a request contained in the idebtical letters.
Azerbaijan has paid equally close attention to promoting peace and stability in the Middle East, Asia Europe and the Latin America as well as strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations and to developing the conceptual and normative basis on other thematic issues in the area of international peace and security.
As part of its presidency of the Security Council in October 2013, Azerbaijan covened on 28 October a high-level meeting on strengthening the partnership synergy between te United Nations and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The objective of the meeting was to review the cooperation between the United Nations and OIC in the maintenance of international peace and security and to explore ideas with a view to strengthening the partnership synergy between the two organizations. In its presidential statement S/PRST/2013/16, adopted as an outcome of the meeting, the Security Council, inter alia, recognized and further encouraged the active contribution of OIC to the work of the United Nations; acknowledged the continue dialogue between the two Organizations in the fiels of peacemaking, preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peacebuilding; noted that the United Nations and OIC share common objectives in promoting and facilitating the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the political solution of the Syrian conflict in accordance with the Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012, as well as in fostering solutions to other conflicts in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council; noted the commitment of both to foster a global dialogue for the promotion of tolerance and peace and called for enhanced cooperation to promote better understanding across countries, cultures and civilizations; and recognized the importance of strengthening cooperation with OIC in the maintenance of international peace and security.
In October, Azerbaijan also convened three open debates, on the situation in the Middle East, on women and peace and security and on the working methods of the Security Council.
During its membership of the Security Council, Azerbaijan chaired the Committee established pursuant to resolution concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Over past two years, Azerbaijan has further developed and strengthened its cooperation with the States Members of the United Nations, the UN Secretariat, regional and subregional organizations, civil society and academic circles.