What does membership in the UN Security Council promise to Azerbaijan in 2012-2013?

Membership in the UN Security Council

As we know, on October 24, 2011, the Republic of Azerbaijan was elected as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UN SC). This event is very significant indeed. The students studying international law and particularly humanitarian law and experts working in this sphere, realize the importance of the non-permanent membership in UN SC very well.

I would like to remind that, according to the Article 23 of the UN Charter the Security Council shall consist of fifteen Members of which five are permanent members (the United StatesRussian Federationthe United KingdomFrance, and China). And, ten are non-permanent members.

Since January 2012, together with Azerbaijan 4 more countries (Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo) will start their activity as members. Columbia, Germany, India, Portugal, and South Africa will continue their membership activity as well as last year.

Participation in the decision-making process and presidency of the UN Security Council

According to another regulation, the Presidency of the Security Council is held in turn by the members of the Security Council in the alphabetical order of their names. Each Presidency holds office for one month. If we take into account that the name of our country starts with the letter A, it means that very soon, Azerbaijan will take over of Presidency of the UN SC for the period of 1 month. The country-President of the UN SC, within its Presidency period will schedule the activity agenda of the UN SC. Of course, this is also a very important issue. At least, Azerbaijan may initiate entering its own problems, including the issue of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict on the agenda, as well as may try to include other international issues important for Azerbaijan, may express its opinion on each issue at the moment appropriate for itself and may defend its opinion more effectively.

Generally, according to the Charter of the UN, the main purpose of the Security Council is maintenance of international peace and security on a global level. Azerbaijan being a member of the Security Council will not only closely participate in issues on an international agenda, but also will become an active participant of the decision-making process regarding the processes taking place in the world.

Of course, membership of Azerbaijan in UN SC will create diplomatic privileges as well as a range of political rights and responsibilities.

The perspective of benefitting from the membership

The main rights and responsibilities of the Republic of Azerbaijan, as a member of the UN SC will, of course, consist of providing its clear position regarding global peace and security issues. In 2012, the period of heavy discussions is expected at the Security Council based on continuous straining of international relations. As the decisions on a range of international and regional conflicts are expected to be taken in 2012-2013s, the activity of Azerbaijan in the voting processes regarding these issues will be indeed very interesting. In many issues Azerbaijan have to make a choice. The “balanced policy”, which as many people think, implemented successfully till now will have to supplemented by “a concrete choice” policy now. For example, the position of Azerbaijan that will be set forth regarding the well known processes taking place at the Meadle East is very interesting. Of course, at first sight, there may be no doubt that Azerbaijan as a Moslem country will defend the interests of the Eastern world countries. But when having a deeper sight, nothing will be definite in these issues. We should not forget that, Azerbaijan was nominated for the non-permanent membership at the Security Council from the Eastern European region. Beginning from January 2012, Azerbaijan will represent Europe in UN SC. Besides, as you know, there is no always unanimity among the permanent members regarding a range of the conflict issues. Usually, from 5 permanent members 2 of them (Russia and China) are absolutely contrary to the other 3 (USA, France and the United Kingdom) on global issues. It is interesting, what will be the position of Azerbaijan in the next discussions and voting, if there won’t be unanimity between the members?

Of course, in accordance with the legal procedures, the country may stay neutral and abstain, and from the legal point of view, no one will blame Azerbaijan for that. But from the political point of view, if Azerbaijan wants to actively use the rights provided by the membership, i.e. wants to be an active participant in the international peace and security issues, then the need appears for setting forth the exact position. Otherwise, its membership will not have much effect on the development of the international relations.

Euro-Atlantic integration

At the same time, I’d like to remind that according to the national security concept of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the main direction of the foreign policy strategy of Azerbaijan is Euro-Atlantic integration. I think that, this provision is not only for staying on a paper, but is also for practical implementation. Anyway, active participation of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Eastern Partnership program of the European Union, cooperation with NATO, cooperation with US, Israel and European Union and its preference of Western countries in the issues of exploitation of energy resources, preference of much more private bilateral cooperation rather than multilateral relations within Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS – consist of 11 former Soviet republics), non-participation of Azerbaijan in majority of initiatives agreed, military and non-military instruments established and the documents signed by many CIS countries, clearly shows that the Euro-Atlantic integration is very important for Azerbaijan not only on the paper, but also in the day-to-day life.

As a supporter of the Euro-Atlantic integration of Azerbaijan, I think that, it will be memorable that the Republic of Azerbaijan taking its decent position in the system of the international relations in 2012-2013s, delivering of the just position of Azerbaijan to the world via more effective ways, finding the peaceful solution for the Nagorno Karabakh problem of Azerbaijan which cannot be solved for years, as well as modernization and democratization of Azerbaijan, strengthening of its Euro-Atlantic integration, and finally, together with its being an Eastern country from the geographical point of view, but being a part of the Western world from the political point of view,  will make those in the international world who cannot stand it, accept it.

Ramil Iskandarli

LLM (Master of Law) Student

International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

Europa Universität Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder
Member of Chatham House The Royal Institute of International Affairs (United Kingdom)