AZERBAIJAN AND OIC

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.

On April 10-15, 2016, a delegation led by Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan attended the 13th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference held in Istanbul under the slogan "Unity and Solidarity for Justice and Peace." The final communiqué of the event included details on the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, intensified tension by the occupying country at thebeginning of April 2016, as well as thecreation of the OIC ContactGroup on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan (Articles 16 and 17). (16. The Conference reiterated its principled position on condemnation of the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan, reaffirmed that acquisition of territory by use of force is inadmissible under the Charter of the United Nations and international law, and urged for strict implementation of UN Security Council resolutions 822 (1993), 853 (1993), 874 (1993) and 884 (1993) and for immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the armed forces of the Republic of Armenia from the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Conference called for the resolution of the conflict on the basis of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the internationally-recognized borders of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Conference also expressed its grave concern by the continuing arms supply to the aggressor, unlawful actions aimed at changing the demographic, cultural and physical character of the occupied territories, including by destruction and misappropriation of cultural heritage and sacred sites, illegal economic and other activities and interference with the public and private property rights in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan. In that regard, the Conference urged Member States to take effective measures, including through national legislation, that would prevent any arms supply to the aggressor from or via their territories, any activities by any natural and legal persons operating on their territories against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, including the participation in or facilitation any unlawful activity in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as well as any action which would help maintain the occupation. The Conference reaffirmed its principled support for the efforts of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including within the UN General Assembly, aimed at restoring its territorial integrity and sovereignty. 17. The Conference condemned in the strongest terms the continuous attacks carried out by the Armenian armed forces in the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan as a result of which civilian population suffered, mosques have been attacked, praying people died and social and economic infrastructure have been destroyed. The Conference supported Azerbaijan’s efforts in defeating these attacks and defending its peaceful population. The Conference stressed the necessity to further increase pressure on Armenia by political, economic and other coercive means in order to bring the agressor in compliance with the OIC demands and decisions. The Conference decided to establish a Contact Group on the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan within the OIC at the level of Foreign Ministers and to convene its first meeting on the margins of Istanbul Summit).

On October 3, 2016, the Intention Conference of the Association of Journalists of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member-states was held in Baku.

At the 43rd session of the OIC Foreign Ministers Council held in Tashkent on 18-19 October, 2016, our country was represented by a delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr.Elmar Mammadyarov. Within the framework of the session, the resolutions entitled "The aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan" in a new edition, "Economic Assistance to the Republic of Azerbaijan", "The destruction and insults of the Islamic historical and cultural monuments and their traces in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in the result of the agression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan",  “Resolution on the approval of the Charter of the OIC Labor Center " of which headquarter will be in Baku on the initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. I.Aliyev.

27-28 January 2017 at the 12th session of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member-States in Bamako, the capital of the Republic of Mali, three resolutions proposed by the Azerbaijan Republic’s delegation (MPs Govhar Bakhshaliyeva and Mirkazim Kazimov) – “aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan”, “resolution on the memorisation of the victims of the Khojaly genocide-1992”, the resolution on coopertion between the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation and the Parliamentary Union of the OIC were unanimously adopted. The OIC PU once again recognized the Khojaly genocide as a crime and genocide against humanity and urged member states to recognize the Khojaly genocide. The PU also reaffirmed its support for the “Justice for Khojaly” campaign.

On 17 February 2017, the OIC issued a statement on behalf of OIC Secretary-General Yusuf al-Oseymin on the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide and commemorated those killed in the atrocities committed by the Republic of Armenia in 1992 in Khojaly, Azerbaijan. The statement said that the Khojaly tragedy was the result of Armenia's occupation of Azerbaijan. The previous resolutions of the OIC Foreign Ministry Council  emphasized that the acts committed against Azerbaijani civilians were a crime against humanity and were fully supported by initiatives and efforts to restore the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

On July 10-11, 2017, the 44th session of the OIC Foreign Ministers Council was held in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Azerbaijan was represented by the delegation headed by deputy head of the Middle East and Africa Office Oktay Gurbanov in the status of the Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

The 44th Session of the OIC Foreign Ministers Council resulted in the adoption of a number of resolutions serving the interests of Azerbaijan. Thus, in connection with the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, this authoritative international organization, along with the traditional resolutions adopted annually by certain amendments;

- For the first time, the Council for Foreign Affairs of OIC adopted a new resolution on the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, and;

- A resolution, which welcomed the announcement of the Year of Islamic Solidarity by our country of 2017.

The 13th session of the OIC Parliamentary Union in Tehran was held on 13-17 January 2018. Members of Milli Majlis Govhar Bakhshaliyeva and Mirkazim Kazimov represented Azerbaijan at the event. The session adopted "Resolutions on the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan", “On the comemoration of victims of Khojaly genocide”. The Final Tehran Declaration reflected provisions related to Azerbaijan.

On April 17-19, 2018, the third meeting of the OIC Youth and Sports Ministers hosted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Baku, organized jointly by the OIC, ICYF and the Islamic Solidarity and Sports Federation (ISSF). Turkish Youth and Sports Minister Osman Aşkın spoke about the work done during his presidency and announced the chairmanship of Azerbaijan in the OIC Youth and Sports Ministers Conference for the next two years. OIC Secretary-General Yusuf Al-Usseimin, President of the Islamic Solidarity and Sports Federation, Abdulmohsen Ash-Sheikh, made a speech at the event.

The meeting was attended by ministers for youth and sports issues, chairmen of agencies and committees of more than 40 OIC member states as well as representatives of leading international organizations. The meeting ended its work by adopting the "Baku Declaration", the OIC Youth Strategy and a number of resolutions.

On May 5-6, 2018, the 45th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was held in Dhaka, the capital of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Our country was represented by a delegation led by Azerbaijan Foreign Minister Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov.

The results of the 45th meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers Council were fruitful in terms of our national interests. Thus, the following resolutions were adopted on our country: "The aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan", "Solidarity with the Victims of Khojaly Massacre", "Providing Economic Assistance to Azerbaijan",  "Destruction and insult of historical and cultural monuments and traces of Islamic religion in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan as a result of the aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan", "Youth Forum on Dialogue and Cooperation".

Resolution 53/45-POL on the strengthening of OIC intermediation capacities was adopted at the 45th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and The OIC Mediation Friends Group has been established. The first meeting of the Group, including Azerbaijan, was held in New York City on 24 September 2018 during the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly.

The Foreign Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Elmar Mammadyarov made a speech at the third session of the Contact Group on the agression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan on 24 September 2018, and at the  the Annual Coordination Meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers on 28 September 2018 in New-York.