Speaker of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova has had a meeting with the Chairman of the National Assembly of Bulgaria Rosen Zhelyazkov during her current official visit to Bulgaria, the Press and Public Relations Department of the Milli Majlis announced, APA reports.
The two parliamentary speakers talked over the bilateral inter-state and inter-legislature relations tete-a-tete first before the meeting went on in an expanded format with our delegation and Bulgarian officials joining in.
Mr Zhelyazkov greeted Mrs Gafarova cordially and told her that the arrival of her delegation was bound to bring about a further growth of the inter-parliamentary relations between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria, already bound with solid friendship and versatile co-operation. Mr Zhelyazkov mentioned also the intensive bilateral diplomatic exchange, the contributions to the interaction from the contacts between the Azerbaijani and Bulgarian presidents, and the fruitful outcomes of the presidents’ reciprocal visits.
Our inter-legislature connexions are up to the high standards set by the bilateral relations in general; there are fine growth opportunities in this field, besides, which gives added weight to the contacts between the legislative assemblies and their friendship groups, in the opinion of Mr Zhelyazkov.
Sahiba Gafarova said her thanks for the cordial hospitality extended to the delegation she leads before saying that this is her first official visit to Bulgaria in the capacity of the leader of the Milli Majlis and that this visit was bound to promote the strengthening and further expansion of our inter-state links.
Azerbaijan and Bulgaria are friends and strategic partners whose diplomatic relations turned thirty years in 2022. Those thirty years had seen a lot done to ensure the relations progressed steadily. Mrs Gafarova emphasised the joint declaration of strategic partnership which was inked in 2015 to set a new standard for the bilateral interaction.
Going further, Mrs Gafarova brought up the exceptional role of high-status political trips from both sides in the furtherance of the relations, adding that there had been many trips and high-level meetings, bilateral as well as on various events’ margins, during the past years. For instance, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan visited Bulgaria last and this year while President Rumen Radev of Bulgaria was in Baku in March 2023. The close political contacts of such a status have a powerful benevolent influence on the other segments of the joint agenda. Our economic and energy connexions are especially praiseworthy in this regard, according to the Speaker of the Milli Majlis.
Mrs Gafarova remarked as she was talking about inter-parliamentary co-operation that it was another most powerful factor of positive influence on the bilateral and multilateral interaction between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria. This co-operation is made stronger for mutual visits. According to Sahiba Gafarova, there are sound opportunities to make yet more robust the already energetic interaction between our legislative assemblies under the roofs of various inter-parliamentary organisations. This highlights the importance of the work done by the mutual friendship groups whose regular contacts, dialogue and exchange of opinions make up a bridge of a kind between us. Also, Mrs Gafarova touched on the opportunities to intensify our joint activities via the channels of both sides’ parliamentary committees, which committees could be exchanging experience in the legal, economic, humanitarian and other fields.
Mr Zhelyazkov was made aware of the new reality in our region following Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 Patriotic War that had resulted in the restoration of the territorial integrity of our country. Azerbaijan is now busy reclaiming and restoring her liberated lands using her own devices and at her own expense. Eight towns and hundreds of villages are being built and rebuilt. Though an aggression victim, our state had begun to speak of peace and had offered the signing of a peace treaty that would be based on five principles of international law including mutual recognition of territorial integrity and respect for inviolability of internationally recognised borders. Alas, Armenia continues its provocations targeting Azerbaijan’s territorial wholeness and sovereignty, keeps a 10,000-strong armed force in the Azerbaijani territory still and has been abusing the Lachin Road for military and other illegal purposes for over two years since the resolution of the conflict.
The establishment of the frontier guards’ checkpoint on the border with Armenia was the case of Azerbaijan using its lawful right, one recognised by the International Court of Justice, besides. The Armenian dwellers of the Garabagh Region continue using the checkpoint despite several Armenian provocations against it. Armenia’s political fiction about a ‘blockade’ and a ‘serious humanitarian crisis’ as well as Armenia’s refusal to use other cargo delivery routes and rejection of Azerbaijani humanitarian aid all stem from one thing – the reluctance to recognise the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and, on the other hand, the desire to put spokes in the wheels of the Garabagh Armenian population’s reintegration into the Azerbaijani society.
Sahiba Gafarova said whilst commenting on the illegal ‘presidential elections’ held by the artificial regime Armenia set up in Azerbaijan’s Garabagh Region that the provocation violated flagrantly Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity principle and constitution as well as the international law. All members of the international community ought to pass the right judgement on this antic in accordance with international legal standards, speak up against aggressive separatism and condemn sternly this illegal act, in the opinion of Sahiba Gafarova.
The false and unfounded claims of a ‘blockade’ and a ‘humanitarian crisis’ that Armenia is making are directly aimed against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan; armed provocations continue in the yet undelimited zone and the Garabagh Region alike; the ten thousand Armenian military personnel deployed in Azerbaijani lands unlawfully continue receiving technical, military and financial aid whereas the accords secured earlier and the normalisation process are being undermined, Sahiba Gafarova continued. The only goal of Armenia is to keep separatism smouldering in the Azerbaijani territory by hook and by crook.
The Chairman of the Milli Majlis informed the Bulgarian colleague in detail of the military provocations. Why would Armenia be arming hastily if Armenia genuinely wants peace and declares recognition of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity? Why would Armenia, a poor state, quite frankly, be buying armaments worth USD 100 million? Armenia turns the weapons it buys on the sovereignty territory of Azerbaijan, which leads one to think – and say – that the accelerated armament of Armenia reduces to a nought peace prospects and gives rise to a new hazard for the whole region.
Azerbaijan, for her part, remains committed to normalising the relations with Armenia and signing the already-mentioned peace pact. What is more, Azerbaijan is taking steps to ensure equitable reintegration of the Garabagh Region’s Armenian residents into her civil society. All their appropriate rights and liberties will be ensured and protected by the national Constitution as well as the international instruments to which Azerbaijan is a party.
Rosen Zhelyazkov recalled the principle of territorial integrity having been central to the world order created after 1945, adding that violation of this principle resulted in conflicts that are difficult to resolve. Our countries are situated in the regions set far apart but both regions have seen similar events. Bulgaria is definitely worried by the ‘presidential elections’ that the puppet regime had conducted in the Garabagh Region of Azerbaijan, if only because the ‘elections’ contradict the Armenian administration’s statements in support of Azerbaijani territorial integrity. The current situation cannot be remedied with declarations alone but would be by signing a pact that would ensure lasting peace. Besides, what is done must be consistent with what is declared, according to Mr Zhelyazkov.
The leader of the National Assembly reiterated the Bulgarian support for the Azerbaijani peace plan and said he hoped that the negotiations involving mediators would result in the signing of a peace agreement.