Chair of the Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani Parliament) Sahiba Gafarova has met with President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament Alfred-Robert Simonis as part of her current official visit to Bucharest, the Press and Public Relations Department of the Milli Majlis told APA.
Mr Simonis said he was glad of the opportunity to welcome Mrs Gafarova at the Romanian Parliament, adding that the present visit would of course promote a continued growth of the bilateral inter-parliamentary co-operation whilst also strengthening the bonds of our friendship.
The close ties between the two countries and the trips of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan to Romania and President Klaus Iohannis of Romania to Azerbaijan were brought up as well; the visits were referred to as signs of the on-going strengthening of our countries’ relationship.
The Head of the Chamber of Deputies shared his considerations about the progress of our inter-legislature connexions and the roles of the friendship groups in this context as well as the contribution of joint Romanian-Azerbaijani energy projects to the overall energy security of Europe. He thanked the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev for the assistance extended to Romania when this country was going through a hard time.
Thanking for the generous hospitality given the Azerbaijani parliamentary delegation then, Sahiba Gafarova voiced her confidence of her first official visit to Romania as the Head of the Milli Majlis would certainly contribute to a continuing solidification and expansion of the bilateral relations.
Going further, Mrs Gafarova stressed that Romania was the second in the world and the first in the European Union to recognise the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Our diplomatic relations turned thirty years last year; those three decades had seen the friendly ties between Azerbaijan and Romania to evolve to become a strategic partnership. The two countries interact as successfully under the aegis of international organisations.
Political contacts occupy an exceptional place as a driver of the growth of the two-way relations, Sahiba Gafarova emphasised before saying that reciprocal visits of the Heads of State served to intensify further the already-energetic high-status political dialogue.
Energy interaction was mentioned as one of the key components of the bilateral co-operation in general. The export of Azerbaijani gas to Romania having begun this year was mentioned as well, as well as the prospect for the co-operation poised only to grow stronger and broader henceforth. Besides, there are new opportunities to unite the forces in the renewable energy field.
Then, Sahiba Gafarova informed Alfred-Robert Simonis of the extensive options to boost the bilateral co-operation further still, what with the modern transport infrastructure of Azerbaijan and her crucial role as a transit hub as well as in light of the continuing large-scale restoration of our de-occupied territories.
The stress was on education, sciences and culture when humanitarian collaboration matters were touched upon. It was said that joint cultural events brought our two nations yet closer together.
According to the Chair of the Milli Majlis, the interaction of our legislatures is one of the linchpins of the bilateral and multilateral relations between Romania and Azerbaijan. There have been two-way trips and meetings of the heads of parliament as well as of the friendship groups and various delegations, both bilaterally and via inter-parliamentary organisations.
Sahiba Gafarova mentioned the attendance by Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament Vasile-Daniel Suciu of the special National Leader Heydar Aliyev Centenary sitting of the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan in May this year.
The conversation touched on the importance of joint activities of the working groups whose regular contacts, dialogue and opinions exchanges bridged the legislatures of the two countries. Last year, there were visits from the Milli Majlis WG to Romania and the Romanian Parliament’s WG to Azerbaijan. The Romanian parliamentarians who came to Azerbaijan travelled to our territories liberated from occupation and to our cultural capital of Shusha. During that trip, the guests from Romania were able to eye-witness the consequence of the destruction wreaked by Armenia as well as the restoration work that Azerbaijan is carrying on to ensure a comprehensive re-building and resurrection of those parts.
Mrs Gafarova and Mr Simonis also talked over a further deepening of the inter-parliamentary connexions via the work done by both sides’ parliamentary committees and, additionally, the options to exchange legislative experience in law, economics and humanitarian matters, to mention but three areas of concern.
It was said then that it was necessary to bolster the close interaction between the two legislative assemblies in inter-parliamentary organisations where a direct consultancy mechanism could be set up to connect our respective delegations. It would be also very much useful to co-ordinate stances and co-operation on various matters coming up in those organisations.
Mrs Gafarova supplied Mr Simonis with detailed information about the current situation in our region, saying that though Azerbaijan had been an invasion victim, Azerbaijan had also been the party to speak about peace and come up with the idea of signing a peace pact that would rest on five international law principles including those of mutual respect for territorial integrity and the inviolability of the borders recognised internationally. Mrs Gafarova thanked the Romanian side for their unwavering support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
Armenia has been leaving no stone unturned to harm our sovereignty and territorial integrity for three years now; military and political provocations, mining and backing separatism in the Azerbaijani territories have all been resorted to, according to the Speaker of the Milli Majlis. The presence of a 10,000-strong Armenian troop, the existence of the puppet regime and the incessant provocations had finally forced Azerbaijan to apply local anti-terrorist measures. Mrs Gafarova pointed out that those arrangements had solely and exclusively targeted military detachments and infrastructure but never once civilian populace and civic facilities. All claims to the contrary are quite unfounded, according to Sahiba Gafarova.
The measures to quash terrorism had achieved their goals faster than in 24 hours; the separatist regime’s entities had been destroyed and Azerbaijan had restored her sovereignty, Mrs Gafarova continued. The reintegration of the ethnic Armenians of the Garabagh Region has begun. The special representative of the Azerbaijani Government had had three meetings with the delegates of this populace within a short period. All the rights and security of the people who are set to become citizens of Azerbaijan will be provided duly, according to Sahiba Gafarova.
Nobody made the ethnic Armenians populating Garabagh to leave that region; there is no factual evidence of any coercion, Madam Speaker continued. As for the departed, it was their own choice to depart; Azerbaijan only provided them with safe passage. A delegation drawn from the UN Resident Co-ordinator’s Office in Azerbaijan and the specialist UN units visited the region and followed that trip with a statement confirming the absence of any kind of damage done to the civilian populace and civilian/social infrastructure.
Sahiba Gafarova then criticised the biased attitude and the unfair, double-standard guided approach to Azerbaijan demonstrated by certain circles.
Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Alfred-Robert Simonis remarked that time would tell who was right, whatever the current situation, and that Romania had always supported and was supporting the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and would not recognise the fake ‘elections’ conducted in Garabagh. Respect for supremacy of law and sovereignty is a tradition with Romania, according to Mr Simonis.
The conversation continued; several other points of shared interest were discussed as well.