Azerbaijan’s cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization may not be progressing at a brisk clip, but some local analysts believe that the country’s accession to the Non-Aligned Movement last month put an even bigger question mark over the future of Azerbaijan’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
On May 25, Baku signed on with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), a grouping set up in 1955 to oppose “domination” by the world’s “major powers” and colonialism in its various forms. Apart from Belarus and Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan is the only former Soviet republic to have joined the left-leaning organization, a group more closely associated with the Cold War era.
The surprise decision to join forces with NAM prompted criticism from the Azerbaijani opposition that Baku is selling out on closer cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union. NAM membership requirements state that any “bilateral military agreement with a Great Power” must not be “deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.”
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter in Baku and a board member of the Open Society Assistance Foundation – Azerbaijan.