Following the accession of new independent states, including Azerbaijan, to the Council of Europe, important changes occurred both in this Organisation and in the new member states in the last 15 years.
The example of Azerbaijan celebrating its 10 years in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in January 2011 leads us to reflect on the outcome and future opportunities of this co-operation.
In Azerbaijan, which lived in a closed regime for 70 years, there was a speedy improvement towards democratisation and legal state-building after Azerbaijan joined the Council of Europe as a fully-fledged member. The current head of the Azerbaijani state was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly and his loyalty towards the values of this organisation are among the major factors conditioning the effectiveness and intensiveness of this co-operation. During this period, Azerbaijani members contributed to the Assembly’s work as authors of a number of reports of European importance.
One of the most important facets of this mutual co-operation is the Assembly’s delicate approach to the occupation of 20% of Azerbaijani territories, which turned nearly one million Azerbaijanis into refugees and IDPs, and the adoption of Assembly Resolution 1416 (2005) on the matter.