Speaker of the Azerbaijan's Milli Majlis (Parliament) Sahiba Gafarova and the parliamentary delegation she is leading are in the Republic of Serbia on an official visit, as we have reported earlier.
They have taken part in the event the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Belgrade has arranged to mark the 28th of May – the Independence Day of Azerbaijan, APA reports.
Sahiba Gafarova spoke at the event, starting by mentioning her meetings with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and her Serbian colleague Vladimir Orlić. She also mentioned her signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the parliaments of Azerbaijan and Serbia with Chairman of the Narodna Skupština Mr Orlić. The Memorandum is sure to serve to further develop inter-parliamentary co-operation.
A hundred and fifty years ago, on 28 May 1918, the people of Azerbaijan declared the establishment of the first democratic parliamentary republic in the Muslim East, emerging in continuation of its centuries-old statehood tradition. Then first legislature and government were formed, the attributes of a state established, national borders defined and important work done towards building the state and having the republic recognised as a subject within the scheme of international relations. The laws passed by the parliament had a salutary effect on the strengthening of national independence as well as on ensuring the political, economic and cultural development of the country.
In 1918, for the first time in the East and long before some European countries, Azerbaijan gave women the right to vote, which was one of the achievements of the first Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. The gender equality introduced in Azerbaijan at that time is not only ensured to this day but is also being developed and strengthened.
The diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and Serbia turned 25 years in 2022; the interaction had been progressing boisterously all those years. Azerbaijan and Serbia are bound by strong friendship, mutual trust and understanding today. Their unwavering solidarity and mutual support in matters of sovereignty and territorial integrity constitute one of the most prominent features of Azerbaijani-Serbian relationship.
Close co-operation in the economic, trade, humanitarian and energy fields is well on its way. The emergence of the link-up between Serbia and Bulgaria and the export of electricity from Azerbaijan to Europe will enable supplies of Azerbaijani natural gas and electricity to Serbia as well.
Inter-parliamentary interaction is one of the locomotives pulling inter-state relations of Azerbaijan-Serbia. MPs of the countries represent the peoples who elected them and speak their will; reciprocal visits of parliament speakers and members of friendship groups as well as combined endeavours in inter-parliamentary organisations show their determination to take that co-operation further for the good of Azerbaijan and Serbia and nations of both countries, according to Sahiba Gafarova.
As she was outlining the current situation in region, Mrs Gafarova told proudly of Azerbaijan having made her national territory whole again with the liberation of the 20 per cent of the internationally recognised Azerbaijani territory after thirty years of Armenian occupation.
After long years of awaiting a peaceful settlement to the conflict Azerbaijan resorted to her use of self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter in 2020. Azerbaijan enforced the resolutions of the UN Security Council single-handedly whilst also carrying into life the international law principles and standards – and, thus, restored her territorial integrity and historical justice, Madam Speaker continued.
Restoration of the de-occupied provinces, declared the ‘green energy’ zones, continues at a grand scale now. The ‘smart towns’ and ‘smart villages’ are under construction there. First families of former IDP have begun to return to their homes.
Even though it was Azerbaijan that had been subjected to occupation, still, it was also Azerbaijan that proposed a peace accord. Lasting peace will come to the Caucasus if such a treaty is signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Sahiba Gafarova concluded.