Relations between Azerbaijan and Belarus are at very high level that Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko describes Azerbaijan as a "saver" of independence and sovereignty of Belarus and adds that "there's not anything close" in Azerbaijani-Belarusian relations. Both countries were part of the Russian Empire until 1918 and before 1991, they were part of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan has an embassy in Minsk and Belarus has an embassy in Baku. Both countries are full members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Azerbaijan is a full member of the Council of Europe, Belarus is a candidate. Both Azerbaijan and Belarus are full members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). There are more than 6,000 Azerbaijanis living in Belarus.
In terms of political sense, Azerbaijan has a partial pro-Western government aligned with Turkey and the United States (both the latter are NATO members) while Belarus is allied politically and economically with Russia.
Recent political relations
Diplomatic relations between two republics established in 1993 but two countries started to get close during past decade. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev paid a visit to Belarus on October 17–18, 2006 which was the first high level visit of Azerbaijan. During the visit nine bilateral documents were signed. Lukashenko also paid a visit to Baku and met with Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasizade, he visited Heydar Aliyev Foundation, and took part in the official opening ceremony of the national exhibition of Belarus in Azerbaijan.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Belarus, like all other members of United Nations, does not recognize The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Alexander Lukashenko have stated that Belarus takes a neutral side on this conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and supports peaceful resolution. However, some Belarusian political experts claim that Belarus "clearly siding" with Azerbaijan and supports Azerbaijan's position.
The Agreement on socio-economic cooperation is the main document defining the perspectives of bilateral relations between the Azerbaijan and Belarus for the period up to 2015. Between 2008 and 2010, Belarus-Azerbaijan trade grew from US$ 100 m to US$ 146 m. More important than this moderate increase is the fact that Belarus enjoys a trade surplus, which helps to counteract its immense foreign trade deficit. Belarus-Azerbaijan trade might reach $800m in 2011.
Azerbaijan is also helping Belarus to acquire alternative oil sources. Minsk recently began importing oil from Venezuela but direct shipments to landlocked Belarus are difficult. Baku thus agreed to swap schemes by which Minsk gains access to Azerbaijani oil in exchange for Venezuelan oil. By mid-July, the Mozyr refinery in Belarus is scheduled to start processing significant volumes of oil from Azerbaijan on a regular basis. Test shipments of Azerbaijani oil have been ongoing since February through Ukraine’s Odessa-Brody pipeline and the Brody-Mozyr section of the Druzhba pipeline.
The acceleration of the relations between Defense Ministries of both countries is in the interest of the both sides. Azerbaijan have been described as largest weapon buyer of Belarus. On 14 November 2008, Belarus and Azerbaijan signed agreement on military cooperation.
Cultural relations are at stable level. Azerbaijani and Belarusian cinematographers constantly take an active part in film festivals held in both countries. On May 22–24, 2007 Azerbaijan Culture Days were held in Minsk and Bobruysk. However, current level of relations in tourism and education remains as weak.
Azerbaijani diaspora organizations remains active. Current Israeli ambassador to Belarus is Azerbaijani-born Yosef Shagal. Azerbaijanis appear in Belarusian popular culture as well that Belarusian singer of Azerbaijani origin Gunash Abbasova was awarded with "State of Award of Republic of Belarus". One of the most known TV hosts in Belarus Leila Ismailаva is also an Azerbaijani.
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- Foreign Embassies in Azerbaijan
- Belarus Population Census 1999 Archived 2010-11-01 at the Wayback Machine
- Ilham Aliyev: Azerbaijan is interested in intensive development of the relations with Belarus - Data Minsk
- ABC News article on event Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
- "Belarus supports the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict" Armen News
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- General look on Azerbaijan-Belarus relations Archived April 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- Azerbaijan, Belarus define priorities to expand trade relations in 2010
- Trend Article on Belarus, Azerbaijan Sign Agreement on Military Cooperation