The first independent foreign policy pursued in Azerbaijan dates back to the period of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (ADR), which was established in 1918. During the rule of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan (1918-1920), the first secular democratic state in the Muslim East, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Azerbaijan pursued the foreign policy of independent Azerbaijan and established diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and various foreign countries; under the ADR, Azerbaijan had diplomatic missions in a number of foreign countries, including Türkiye, Armenia and Georgia, an embassy in Iran, an authorised representative to the Kuban and Don governments, and an authorised delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, PPC.
In addition, representations of 16 foreign countries such as Great Britain, Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Georgia, Denmark, Italy, Lithuania, Iran, Poland, the United States, Ukraine, Finland, France, Switzerland and Sweden were opened in Baku.
After the recognition of Azerbaijan’s independence by the Supreme War Council, an allied administrative organisation created by the Entente governments (The Supreme War Council of the Entente), diplomatic missions of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Entente governments in Western Europe and America were also due to open.
However, the occupation of the de facto recognized Republic of Azerbaijan by the Soviet (Bolshevik) regime put an end to these plans, as well as to Azerbaijan’s independent representation in international relations.
After the occupation of the Republic of Azerbaijan by the Soviet Union’s Bolshevik regime, the ADR Ministry of Foreign Affairs was abolished, and instead, the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan SSR was established in 1920.
The activity of this body, which functioned under the Government of Azerbaijan SSR, was of a formal nature. In 1922, the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs was abolished in connection with Azerbaijan’s accession to the Transcaucasian SFSR and then the USSR.
22 years after the abolition of the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan SSR, on the 8th of March 1944, the session of the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan SSR adopted a law on the establishment of the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan.
According to the laws adopted by the Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan SSR at its March 1944 session, “the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan had the right to establish direct relations with foreign countries, conclude agreements with them, and exchange diplomatic and consular missions”. As a result of the amendments and additions to the Constitution, Azerbaijan SSR had the right to establish relations with, and send and recall diplomatic missions to foreign countries. However, according to the amendment to Article 46 of the Constitution of Azerbaijan, the relations of Azerbaijan SSR with foreign countries had to be within the bounds of the USSR-established general rules on affairs with foreign countries.
Since 1991, when Azerbaijan regained its state independence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been pursuing an independent foreign policy that protects the national interests of Azerbaijan.
The foreign policy of Azerbaijan, which restored its independence, can be divided into several phases: the first phase, which covers the first years of independence, including the establishment of relations with world powers and major international organisations; the second phase, which covers the years 1993-2003 and is characterised by further expansion of international relations; and the third (current) phase, which is characterised by the transformation of Azerbaijan into an influential state and a reliable partner in international relations.
The establishment and pursuance of a foreign policy line, which is based on the protection of the national interests of the Republic of Azerbaijan is associated with the name of Heydar Aliyev, the National Leader of Azerbaijani people. The foreign policy line initiated by Great Leader Heydar Aliyev is now being successfully continued by his worthy successor Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministers:
- Hajinski Mammadhasan Jafargulu
- Topchubashov Alimardan bey Alakbar
- Khoyski Fatali Khan Isgender
- Jafarov Mammadyusif Hajibaba
- Narimanov Nariman Najaf
- Huseynov Mirzadavud Baghyr
- Aliyev Mahmud Ismayil
- Tahirova Tahira Akbar
- Gafarova Elmira Mikayil
- Sadygov Huseynagha Musa
- Gasymov Tofig Masim
- Hasanov Hasan Aziz
- Zulfugarov Tofig Nadir
- Guliyev Vilayat Mukhtar
- Mammadyarov Elmar Maharram
- Bayramov Jeyhun Aziz