Azerbaijan [Country Flag of Azerbaijan]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Azerbaijan]



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Current issues: Azerbaijan continues to be plagued by an unresolved 10-year-old conflict with Armenian separatists over its Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Karabakh Armenians have declared independence and seized almost 20% of the country's territory, creating almost 1 million Azerbaijani refugees in the process. Both sides have generally observed a Russian-mediated cease-fire in place since May 1994.


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Location: Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia

Geographic coordinates: 40 30 N, 47 30 E

Map references: Commonwealth of Independent States

total: 86,600 sq km
land: 86,100 sq km
water: 500 sq km
note: includes the exclave of Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh region; the region's autonomy was abolished by Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet on 26 November 1991

Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Maine

Land boundaries:
total: 2,013 km
border countries: Armenia (with Azerbaijan-proper) 566 km, Armenia (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 221 km, Georgia 322 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-proper) 432 km, Iran (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave) 179 km, Russia 284 km, Turkey 9 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
note: Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea (800 km, est.)

Maritime claims: none (landlocked)

Climate: dry, semiarid steppe

Terrain: large, flat Kur-Araz Lowland (much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag (Karabakh) Upland in west; Baku lies on Abseron (Apsheron) Peninsula that juts into Caspian Sea

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caspian Sea -28 m
highest point: Bazarduzu Dagi 4,485 m

Natural resources: petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, alumina

Land use:
arable land: 18%
permanent crops: 5%
permanent pastures: 25%
forests and woodland: 11%
other: 41% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: 10,000 sq km (1993 est.)

Natural hazards: droughts; some lowland areas threatened by rising levels of the Caspian Sea

Environment—current issues: local scientists consider the Abseron (Apsheron) Peninsula (including Baku and Sumqayit) and the Caspian Sea to be the ecologically most devastated area in the world because of severe air, water, and soil pollution; soil pollution results from the use of DDT as a pesticide and also from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Climate Change, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity

Geography—note: landlocked


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Population: 7,855,576 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 32% (male 1,300,236; female 1,247,027)
15-64 years: 61% (male 2,336,568; female 2,468,679)
65 years and over: 7% (male 195,322; female 307,744) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.7% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 22.2 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 9.41 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -5.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 81.64 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 63.3 years
male: 59.01 years
female: 67.81 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.72 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Azerbaijani(s)
adjective: Azerbaijani

Ethnic groups: Azeri 90%, Dagestani Peoples 3.2%, Russian 2.5%, Armenian 2.3%, other 2% (1995 est.)
note: almost all Armenians live in the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region

Religions: Muslim 93.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.5%, Armenian Orthodox 2.3%, other 1.8% (1995 est.)
note: religious affiliation is still nominal in Azerbaijan; actual practicing adherents are much lower

Languages: Azeri 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97%
male: 99%
female: 96% (1989 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: Azerbaijani Republic
conventional short form: Azerbaijan
local long form: Azarbaycan Respublikasi
local short form: none
former: Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic

Data code: AJ

Government type: republic

National capital: Baku (Baki)

Administrative divisions: 59 rayons (rayonlar; rayon—singular), 11 cities* (saharlar; sahar - singular), 1 autonomous republic** (muxtar respublika); Abseron Rayonu, Agcabadi Rayonu, Agdam Rayonu, Agdas Rayonu, Agstafa Rayonu, Agsu Rayonu, Ali Bayramli Sahari*, Astara Rayonu, Baki Sahari*, Balakan Rayonu, Barda Rayonu, Beylaqan Rayonu, Bilasuvar Rayonu, Cabrayil Rayonu, Calilabad Rayonu, Daskasan Rayonu, Davaci Rayonu, Fuzuli Rayonu, Gadabay Rayonu, Ganca Sahari*, Goranboy Rayonu, Goycay Rayonu, Haciqabul Rayonu, Imisli Rayonu, Ismayilli Rayonu, Kalbacar Rayonu, Kurdamir Rayonu, Lacin Rayonu, Lankaran Rayonu, Lankaran Sahari*, Lerik Rayonu, Masalli Rayonu, Mingacevir Sahari*, Naftalan Sahari*, Naxcivan Muxtar Respublikasi**, Neftcala Rayonu, Oguz Rayonu, Qabala Rayonu, Qax Rayonu, Qazax Rayonu, Qobustan Rayonu, Quba Rayonu, Qubadli Rayonu, Qusar Rayonu, Saatli Rayonu, Sabirabad Rayonu, Saki Rayonu, Saki Sahari*, Salyan Rayonu, Samaxi Rayonu, Samkir Rayonu, Samux Rayonu, Siyazan Rayonu, Sumqayit Sahari*, Susa Rayonu, Susa Sahari*, Tartar Rayonu, Tovuz Rayonu, Ucar Rayonu, Xacmaz Rayonu, Xankandi Sahari*, Xanlar Rayonu, Xizi Rayonu, Xocali Rayonu, Xocavand Rayonu, Yardimli Rayonu, Yevlax Rayonu, Yevlax Sahari*, Zangilan Rayonu, Zaqatala Rayonu, Zardab Rayonu

Independence: 30 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)

National holiday: Independence Day, 28 May

Constitution: adopted 12 November 1995

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Heydar ALIYEV (since 18 June 1993)
head of government: Prime Minister Artur RASIZADE (since 26 November 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly
elections: president elected by popular vote to a five-year term; election last held 3 October 1993 (next to be held October 1998); prime minister and first deputy prime ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly
election results: Heydar ALIYEV elected president; percent of vote—Heydar ALIYEV 97%

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly or Milli Mejlis (125 seats; members serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 12 and 26 November 1995 (next to be held NA 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—YAP and allies 115, AXC 4, AMIP 3, YMP 1, vacant 2

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: New Azerbaijan Party or YAP [Heydar ALIYEV, chairman]; Azerbaijan Popular Front or AXC [Abulfaz ELCHIBEY, chairman]; Party for National Independence of Azerbaijan or AMIP [Etibar MAMMADOV, chairman]; Musavat Party or YMP [Isa GAMBAR, chairman]; People's Democratic Party of Azerbaijan [Rafig TURABXANLY]; People's Freedom Party [Yunus OGUZ, chairman]; Democratic Party of Independence of Azerbaijan [Vagit KERIMOV]; Communist Party of Azerbaijan (CPA-2) [Firudin HASANOV]; Social Democratic Party of Azerbaijan or SDP [Zardusht ALIZADE, chairman]; Liberal Party of Azerbaijan [Lala HAJIYEVA]; Vahdat Party [Leyla YUNUSOV, Gadzhi ALIZADE]; Azerbaijan Muslim Democratic Party (former Islamic Party) [Haji Mekhti SHAMILLI]; Azerbaijan Democratic Party or ADP [Ilyas ISMAYLOV]; Civic Solidarity [Sabir RUSTAMXANLI]; Ana Vatan Party [Fazail AGAMALI]

Political pressure groups and leaders: self-proclaimed Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh Republic; Talysh independence movement; Sadval, Lezgin movement

International organization participation: BSEC, CCC, CE (guest), CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM (observer), OIC, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hafiz Mir Jalal PASHAYEV
chancery: (temporary) Suite 700, 927 15th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005 or P. O. Box 28790, Washington, DC 20038-8790
telephone: [1] (202) 842-0001
FAX: [1] (202) 842-0004

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Stanley ESCUDERO
embassy: Azadliq Prospekti 83, Baku
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [9] (9412) 98-03-35
FAX: [9] (9412) 96-04-69

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), red, and green; a crescent and eight-pointed star in white are centered in red band


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Economy—overview: Azerbaijan is less developed industrially than either Armenia or Georgia, the other Transcaucasian states. It resembles the Central Asian states in its majority nominally Muslim population, high structural unemployment, and low standard of living. The economy's most prominent products are oil, cotton, and gas. Production from the Caspian oil and gas field has been in decline for several years, but the negotiation of more than a dozen production-sharing arrangements (PSAs) with foreign firms, which have thus far committed $30 billion to oil field development, should generate the funds needed to spur future industrial development. Oil production under the first of these PSAs, with the Azerbaijan International Operating Company, began in November 1997. Azerbaijan shares all the formidable problems of the ex-Soviet republics in making the transition from a command to a market economy, but its considerable energy resources brighten its long-term prospects. Baku has only recently begun making progress on economic reform, and old economic ties and structures are slowly being replaced. A major short-term obstacle to economic progress, including stepped up foreign investment, is the continuing conflict with Armenia over the ethnic Armenian-dominated region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Trade with Russia and the other former Soviet republics is declining in importance while trade is building up with the nations of Europe, Turkey, Iran, and the UAE. A serious long-term challenge is the maintenance of the competitiveness of non-oil exports in world markets.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$11.9 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 5.8% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,460 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 30%
industry: 23%
services: 47% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 3.7% (1997 est.)

Labor force:
total: 2.789 million
by occupation: agriculture and forestry 32%, industry and construction 26%, other 42% (1990)

Unemployment rate: 20% (1996 est.)

revenues: $565 million
expenditures: $682 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

Industries: petroleum and natural gas, petroleum products, oilfield equipment; steel, iron ore, cement; chemicals and petrochemicals; textiles

Industrial production growth rate: 0.3% (1997 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 5.239 million kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 16.051 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 2,200 kWh (1996 est.)

Agriculture—products: cotton, grain, rice, grapes, fruit, vegetables, tea, tobacco; cattle, pigs, sheep, goats

total value: $789 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: oil and gas, chemicals, oilfield equipment, textiles, cotton
partners: CIS, European countries, Turkey

total value: $1.3 billion (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
commodities: machinery and parts, consumer durables, foodstuffs, textiles
partners: CIS, European countries, Turkey

Debt—external: $100 million (of which $75 million to Russia)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $14 million (1993)
note: commitments, 1992-95, $1,000 million ($185 million in disbursements); wheat from Turkey

Currency: 1 manat = 100 gopik

Exchange rates: manats per US$1—3,936.00 (September 1997), 4,301.26 (1996), 4,413.54 (1995), 1,570.23 (1994), 99.98 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year


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Telephones: 710,000 (1991 est.)

Telephone system: 202,000 persons waiting for telephone installations (January 1991 est.)
domestic: telephone service is of poor quality and inadequate; a joint venture to establish a cellular telephone system in the Baku area is operational
international: cable and microwave radio relay connections to former Soviet republics; connection through Moscow international gateway switch to other countries; satellite earth stations—1 Intelsat and 1 Intersputnik (Intelsat provides service to Turkey and through Turkey to 200 more countries; Intersputnik provides direct service to New York)

Radio broadcast stations: 1 state-owned radio broadcast station

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 2
note: domestic and Russian TV programs are received locally and Turkish and Iranian TV is received from an Intelsat satellite through a receive-only earth station

Televisions: NA


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total: 2,125 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines
broad gauge: 2,125 km 1.520-m gauge (1,278 km electrified) (1993)

total: 57,770 km
paved: 54,188 km
unpaved: 3,582 km (1995 est.)

Pipelines: crude oil 1,130 km; petroleum products 630 km; natural gas 1,240 km

Ports and harbors: Baku (Baki)

Airports: 69 (1996 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 29
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 3
under 914 m: 1 (1996 est.)

Airports—with unpaved runways:
total: 40
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 33 (1996 est.)


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Military branches: Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Border Guards

Military manpower—military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 2,011,076 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 1,616,412 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 71,922 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: 105.7 billion manats (1998 est.); note—conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: Armenia supports ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan in the longstanding, separatist conflict against the Azerbaijani Government; Caspian Sea boundaries are not yet determined among Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan

Illicit drugs: limited cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy, mostly for CIS consumption; limited government eradication program; transshipment point for opiates to Western Europe