Speaker of the Milli Majlis (Azerbaijani Parliament), Sahiba Gafarova met with President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, APA reports.
The leader of Bulgaria welcomed the head of the Azerbaijani parliament cordially before noting that Azerbaijan and Bulgaria are not only strategic partners but also two countries that are very close to each other and that have built up a consistent and high-level political dialogue. According to Mr Radev, both Azerbaijan and Bulgaria see many international processes eye to eye while sharing an identical stance on stability and security in our region. President Radev also underlined the importance of reciprocal elevated-status visits for the advancement of bilateral relations and was glad to recall the visit of President Ilham Aliyev to Azerbaijan in 2022 and his own to Azerbaijan in March 2023.
He said, as he stressed the needfulness of inter-parliamentary co-operation to match the interaction in all the other areas, that strengthening the contacts created an added momentum behind the progress of the bilateral relations in general.
Mr Radev also voiced Bulgaria’s interest in peace and security in our region and the Bulgarian support for the peace talks.
According to Rumen Radev, the energy-sector interaction between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria yields successful results and natural gas from Azerbaijan is supplied to Bulgaria already. Our countries’ strategic partnership is broader than that, though, what with the fruitful interaction in many other fields. Azerbaijan and Bulgaria are implementing the strategic vision of energy security that the European Union harbors. The Solidarity Ring STRING initiative is our states’ joint one, Rumen Radev continued, adding that the opening of a SOCAR office in Bulgaria had come as another sign of our interaction being a success.
There are fine opportunities to further our green energy co-operation, too, Rumen Radev remarked.
Thanking for the cordial hospitality extended to her and her delegation, the leader of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova passed on to Bulgarian President Rumen Radev the greetings of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
Sahiba Gafarova spoke about the important part that reciprocal visits of the Heads of State and their conversations played in the progress of the inter-state relations. The Gas Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria commissioned during the official visit of President Aliyev in September-October 2022 turned a leaf in the history of this co-operation, in the opinion of Mrs Gafarova.
Having said that that was her first official visit to Bulgaria as Speaker of the Milli Majlis of Azerbaijan, Sahiba Gafarova added that mutual visits played an important role in the development of co-operation between the two parliaments. She also underlined the existence of sound opportunities for the continued development of close interaction between our legislative assemblies under the aegis of various inter-parliamentary organisations and, in this regard, the significance of joint activities of the two friendship groups. The friendship groups serve as a bridge between the parliaments through regular contacts, dialogue and exchange of views, she concluded.
Mrs Gafarova also brought up the opportunities and options to continue deepening the ties via the parliamentary committees of Bulgaria and Azerbaijan.
The topic that came up next was that of the new reality in our region following Azerbaijan’s victory in the Patriotic War of 2020 that led to the restoration of our country’s territorial integrity. Azerbaijan is busy restoring and reclaiming the liberated lands using her own resources currently. Though an aggression victim, our state was still the first to talk about peace and to suggest a peace treaty that would rest on five international law principles including those of mutual recognition of territorial integrity and respect for the inviolability of the internationally recognised borders. Armenia, though, only continues its provocations targeted at Azerbaijan’s territorial wholeness and sovereignty, Sahiba Gafarova was saying.
The ‘presidential elections’ held by Armenia’s lapdog separatist clique holed up in Azerbaijan’s Garabagh Region violated flagrantly the sovereignty, wholeness of national territory, Constitution and legislation of our country but, what is more, came as an outrage against standards and principles of international law. Having said that, Sahiba Gafarova called on all members of the international community to pass a proper political judgement on that act, raise their voices in protest against separatism and condemn the said illegal fidgeting resolutely.
Armenia’s unfounded ‘blockade’ and ‘humanitarian crisis’ claims were covered too. Speaker Gafarova made a point of saying that those claims, rather departed from the truth, only target Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, again. Meanwhile, Azerbaijan stays true to the ideas of a normalisation with Armenia and of signing the aforementioned peace pact whilst working towards the social reintegration of the Armenian residents of her Garabagh Region as equal citizens.
Besides, Mrs Gafarova was talking about the significance of our co-operating in humanitarian affairs; this kind of co-operation has a rich history, he said before referring to the amity of our nations as a firm foundation for the inter-state relations to progress upon. There are many facts proving our peoples’ interaction in culture, arts and sciences. The ties in such areas as education, sciences and culture make the people of Azerbaijan and Bulgaria yet closer to each other. With that said, Mrs Gafarova mentioned especially the restoration of the Trapezitsa architectural preserve in Veliko Tarnovo with the backing from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation back in 2016, which was another manifestation of our tight humanitarian bonds. In September 2022, then, the two sides signed an important twinning agreement concerning Azerbaijan’s cultural capital of Shusha and Veliko Tarnovo, according to Mrs Gafarova.
Other matters of interest to either side were discussed at the meeting as well.