Azerbaijani Chair of Parliament receives Belgian FM (PHOTO)

Politics Materials 25 August 2023 17:59 (UTC +04:00)
Azerbaijani Chair of Parliament receives Belgian FM (PHOTO)
Elchin Mehdiyev
Elchin Mehdiyev
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, August 25. The Chairman of the Milli Majlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan, Sahiba Gafarova, received a Belgian delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs, Foreign Trade and Federal Cultural Institutions, Hadja Lahbib, who is on a visit to the country on August 25, the Press and Public Relations Department of the Milli Majlis told Trend.

The meeting discussed topical issues on the agenda of bilateral cooperation between Azerbaijan and Belgium and the current situation in the region.

Gafarova informed the delegation about the current situation in our country and the region and noted that in 2020, as a result of the second Karabakh war, Azerbaijan put an end to the 30-year occupation of its lands and restored territorial integrity. Despite the fact that Azerbaijan has become a victim of the conflict, it was Azerbaijan that put forward a peaceful initiative to establish long-term peace and stability in the South Caucasus and normalize relations with Armenia based on the norms and principles of international law.

Gafarova, speaking about the large-scale restoration and construction works carried out by Azerbaijan after the liberation of its lands, said that Azerbaijan is currently building modern cities and villages in the territories liberated from occupation. The Great Return program has already been launched, which provides for the return of internally displaced persons to their native lands.

In addition, the Chairman of the Milli Majlis noted with regret that for 30 years, the violations of the rights of internally displaced persons and their expulsion from their native lands were ignored by the international community. This is an indicator of double standards. Sahiba Gafarova said that there are many reasons for these double standards: the Armenian lobby and propaganda, Islamophobia.

At the meeting, Gafarova also informed about the mining of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia, noting that the massive mining carried out by Armenia is the biggest obstacle to restoration work in the territories liberated from occupation. Speaking about false and fabricated propaganda, the Chairman of the Milli Majlis stressed that the Lachin road was and remains open and that there is no "blockade".

The Republic of Azerbaijan, in accordance with the norms of international law, established the Lachin border checkpoint in April 2023. Gafarova highlighted that Azerbaijan has proposed the Aghdam-Khankendi road for the transportation of humanitarian goods to the city of Khankendi and surrounding villages, and this proposal has received support at the international level. However, unfortunately, Armenia does not want to use this road.

Moreover, Armenians living in Karabakh are citizens of Azerbaijan, and Sahiba Gafarova said that the necessary steps have been taken to reintegrate them into Azerbaijani society. The head of the Azerbaijani state has repeatedly stated that Armenians living in Karabakh are our citizens, and they will have the same rights as all citizens of Azerbaijan.

The Chairman of the Milli Majlis once again noted that the absurd statements put forward by Armenia that there is allegedly a "tense humanitarian situation" in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan and that residents of Armenian descent living in the region allegedly "face a shortage of food and medicines" are nothing but manipulations aimed at misleading the international community.

Sahiba Gafarova noted that it is surprising and hypocritical that Armenia, which ignored Security Council resolutions for almost 30 years, continued to keep Azerbaijani lands under occupation, ignoring the documents of all international organizations, including the UN Security Council, and submitted the issue of the Lachin Road for discussion in the UN Security Council.

In addition, the Chairman of the Milli Majlis stressed that the Azerbaijani people want peace and stability. However, the peace agreement proposed by Azerbaijan has not yet been signed because Armenia wants to delay this process.

Gafarova also criticized five unilateral and biased resolutions adopted in the Belgian Parliament against Azerbaijan over the past three years, stressing that these resolutions do not reflect the situation in the region. She also noted that the visit of the Belgian deputies only to Armenia violates the balance in relation to the countries of the region and highlighted that Azerbaijan has sent invitations to the leadership of the Belgian parliament, the head of the friendship group, and other parliament members, adding that such visits will provide more accurate and reliable information about the situation in Azerbaijan and the region, especially in Karabakh. If they visit Azerbaijan, they will witness what was done in Agdam—Hiroshima of the XXI century—in Shusha.

Gafarova said that not only in Aghdam but also in all our cities, districts, and villages that were under the occupation of Armenia, everything was destroyed.

The Belgian Foreign Minister informed us about the objectives of her visit to the region, including our country, and the meetings held. Stressing the importance of mutual visits between Azerbaijan and Belgium, she noted that during this visit she held discussions on many issues and stressed the importance of ensuring peace and security in the region, including the mine clearance of territories.

In general, Hadja Lahbib said that Belgium only intends to promote peace and the restoration of these territories. She noted that, over the past 30 years, a lot of destruction has occurred in these territories. Lahbib also spoke about the activities of political institutions in Belgium, multiculturalism, gender equality, and other issues. During the meeting, the sides exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest.