Geneva hosts the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD), the only permanent multilateral negotiating body for disarmament matters. The Conference was established in 1979, following the first Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Disarmament held in 1978. The terms of reference of the CD include all multilateral arms control and disarmament problems.
The terms of reference of the CD include practically all multilateral arms control and disarmament problems. Currently the CD primarily focuses its attention on the following issues: cessation of the nuclear arms race and nuclear disarmament; prevention of nuclear war, including all related matters; prevention of an arms race in outer space; effective international arrangements to assure non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons; new types of weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons including radiological weapons; comprehensive programme of disarmament and transparency in armaments.
CD is composed of 65 member states. Due to restrictions in the maximum number of members at the CD, the Republic of Azerbaijan takes part in the activities of the Conference as non-member observer state. Should such restrictions are eliminated Azerbaijan may consider to be member of the Conference. Azerbaijan regards the CD as a platform for contributing to the existing international initiatives and ongoing multilateral deliberations on the topics related to arms control.
The Republic of Azerbaijan has joined to international conventions on certain category of conventional weapons which are deemed to be excessively dangerous. The 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (Azerbaijan has become a state party in 2004), the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Azerbaijan has signed the Convention in 1993 and ratified in 1999), the 1968 Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) (Azerbaijan acceded to the Convention in 1992), the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) (Azerbaijan signed the Treaty in 1997 and ratified in 1999) and the 1967 Treaty on the Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Outer Space Treaty) (Azerbaijan acceded to the Treaty in 2015) are among the international treaties that the Republic of Azerbaijan has become a party.
One of the priorities of the Republic of Azerbaijan in its activities within the Conference on Disarmament is to draw the attention of the international community to the use of 20% of the occupied Azerbaijani territories by the Republic of Armenia for the purpose of illicit storage and transit of the weapons and ammunitions that are out of control of the international monitoring mechanisms.
Despite the ceasefire agreement reached between Azerbaijan and Armenia, threat of the resumption of active military operations still remains due to recent intensified provocations by the armed forces of Armenia. In this regard, taking into consideration the nature of the conflict, as well as the landscape of the territories where the active military operations are conducted, it is necessary to possess certain categories of conventional weapons. Because of this very reason, while fully supporting the efforts of the international community in eliminating the weapons deemed to be excessively dangerous for human beings, regretfully the Republic of Azerbaijan has not been able to become a state party to the major international conventions prohibiting the use of such category of weapons, including Ottawa Convention of 1997, the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Nevertheless, the Republic of Azerbaijan hopes that Armenia will take a constructive stance in the settlement of the conflict by withdrawing its military troops from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan which will enable both parties to eliminate the consequences of the conflict and to remove the explosive remnants of war from the conflict affected territories. This will eventually lead to accession of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the aforementioned international conventions.
It should also be emphasized that all resolutions tabled at the UN General Assembly for the support of the above-mentioned international conventions are regularly supported by the Republic of Azerbaijan.
As an obvious sign of significance extended to the international cooperation in the field of arms control and disarmament, the Republic of Azerbaijan takes an active part in all regional and international military information exchange frameworks and contributes actively to the work of the international bodies specialized in arms control and disarmament matters. It is not coincidence that the Republic of Azerbaijan was elected to the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the term of 2017-2019 at the elections held in December 2016.