Azerbaijan Table of Contents
Although Elchibey stressed Azerbaijani independence from Moscow, he signed a friendship treaty with Russia on October 12, 1992, calling for mutual assistance in the case of aggression directed at either party and pledging mutual protection of the rights of the other's resident citizens. Between that time and the coup of 1993, however, Elchibey accused Russia of aiding Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, and Russia accused Elchibey of mistreating the Russian minority in Azerbaijan. Relations improved with the return to power of Aliyev, who pledged to uphold and strengthen Azerbaijan's ties to Russia. Russia's official position on Nagorno-Karabakh was strict nonintervention barring an invitation to mediate from both sides; in the Russian view, Azerbaijani territory seized by Armenia was to be returned, however. In early 1994, seizure of property from Russian citizens in Azerbaijan (mostly to house refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh) remained a source of irritation.
Azerbaijan's role in the CIS changed drastically in the early 1990s. After Azerbaijan signed the Alma-Ata Declaration as a founding member of the CIS in December 1991, the legislature voted in October 1992 against ratifying this membership. However, Azerbaijan retained observer status, and its representatives attended some CIS functions. Aliyev's announcement in September 1993 that Azerbaijan would rejoin the CIS brought a heated debate in the legislature, which finally approved membership. Aliyev then signed the CIS charter, its Treaty on Collective Security, and an agreement on economic cooperation. Relations with former Soviet republics in Central Asia also were uneven after independence. Elchibey's advocacy of the overthrow of President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan caused particular diplomatic problems with that country. In keeping with the policy of rapprochement with the CIS, Aliyev began improving ties with Central Asian leaders in the second half of 1993.
Data as of March 1994