Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov announced on February 5 that Azerbaijan will not prolong its membership in the CIS Collective Security Treaty. Khalafov represented his country at the Moscow meeting of the CIS member countries’ Council of Foreign Ministers, some of whom sent deputies rather than attending themselves. Khalafov told Baku media that he had joined Uzbekistan in announcing that Azerbaijan would also stay out of the pact. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Tofig Zulfugarov chose to go on a working visit to Germany instead of Moscow. While in Germany, Zulfugarov declared that Azerbaijan is technically not a party to the treaty. Although it signed and ratified the document, Baku never deposited the instruments of ratification. Zulfugarov said that “integration into European and Transatlantic institutions is Azerbaijan’s undisputed priority.”
Zulfugarov and Khalafov both explained that Azerbaijan can not participate in a “security system” in which one country (Russia) provides military support to another (Armenia) at war with a third (Azerbaijan) within the same system. Another deputy foreign minister of Azerbaijan, Araz Azimov, has spent the last few days in Washington urging a greater Western role in the military security of the South Caucasus region. Azimov called, specifically, for NATO to establish a “special relationship” with Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Georgia, which had signed the pact (like Azerbaijan) in 1993 under duress, also has one foot outside the treaty (Turan, Azad-Inform, Itar-Tass, February 5-6; see also the Monitor, February 5).
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