The Helsinki Agreement of 1975, also known as the Helsinki Accords, was a major political and diplomatic achievement during the Cold War era. The agreement was signed by 35 countries in Helsinki, Finland, on August 1, 1975, and aimed to improve relations between the Soviet Union and the West.
The Helsinki Agreement was not a treaty in the traditional sense, but rather a set of principles and guidelines that the signatory countries agreed to uphold. The agreement was divided into three “baskets”: security, economics, and human rights. Each basket contained a set of commitments that the signatories agreed to abide by.
In the security basket, the Helsinki Agreement aimed to promote stability and reduce tensions between the East and West. The signatories agreed to respect each other`s territorial integrity and refrain from the use of force or threats of force. They also agreed to respect the sovereignty and independence of each other`s countries and to settle disputes peacefully.
The economic basket of the Helsinki Agreement focused on promoting economic cooperation and trade between the signatory countries. The agreement included commitments to reduce barriers to trade and investment, to promote technology transfer, and to protect intellectual property rights.
The human rights basket of the Helsinki Agreement was perhaps the most significant. This basket included commitments to respect and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and expression. The signatories agreed to promote democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human dignity.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Helsinki Agreement was the emphasis on human rights. This was an important development, as it signaled a shift away from traditional Cold War politics and toward a more comprehensive approach to international relations. The Helsinki Agreement paved the way for further international efforts to promote human rights, including the United Nations` Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Overall, the Helsinki Agreement was a landmark achievement in international diplomacy. It helped to reduce tensions between the Soviet Union and the West and laid the foundation for a more cooperative and peaceful world order. Today, the Helsinki Agreement remains an important milestone in the history of international relations.