Milli Majlis Concludes 2021 Autumn Session
The Milli Majlis last met in plenary during the autumn session on 30 December. Following adoption of the agenda of the year’s last sitting, Speaker Sahiba Gafarova let it be known that the Milli Majlis traditionally passed the annual addresses to the compatriots and fellow citizens living abroad on the eve of the World Azerbaijanis’ Solidarity Day. An editorial panel had to be put together to compose this year’s address; so, at the suggestion of Madame Speaker, a seven-strong panel was formed. It consisted of the MPs Eldar Guliyev, Afat Hasanova, Jeyhun Mammadov, Konul Nurullayev, Shahin Seyidzade and Elshan Musayev, and was headed by Deputy Chair of the Milli Majlis/Chairman of the Public Associations and Religious Entities Committee Fazail Ibrahimli.
The House moved on to the current issues once the editorial panel had been formed.
The parliamentary committee chairman Zahid Oruj and the MPs Hikmat Mammadov, Fazil Mustafa, Malahat Ibrahimghizi, Razi Nurullayev, Aydin Huseynov, Nurlan Hasanov, Naghif Hamzayev, Emin Hajiyev and Javid Osmanov congratulated the government and the people of Azerbaijan on the approaching World Azerbaijanis’ Solidarity Day. They also shared their thoughts regarding the outcomes of the outbound year.
The MPs were saying that Azerbaijan had covered an extremely successful path under the guidance of President, Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev. The year 2021 has been marked with outstanding achievements – the diplomatic ones as well as in furthering the progress of the provinces of the country, restoring the de-occupied lands and boosting the national economic potential. The Milli Majlis helmed by Sahiba Gafarova has had considerable achievements, too. The speakers praised the foundation of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network at the instance of the president of Azerbaijan and lauded the relevant input of the leadership of the Azerbaijani parliament.
Also, they talked about the milestones of the expiring year as an episode of the Azerbaijani history, such as the signing of the Shusha Declaration, the launch of the Victory Road that embodies the triumph of historical justice, the commissioning of the airport of Fuzuli and the summit of the Co-operation Council of the Turkic-Speaking States held in Istanbul (where it was renamed as the Organisation of Turkic States). The law-makers also underlined the significance of the decrees and orders signed by the Head of State with a view to making the social protection of the citizens of Azerbaijan stronger.
Then, Chair Sahiba Gafarova announced that the agenda consisted nine items, the first two of which were draft resolutions of the Milli Majlis, four were international treaties, one was a Bill lined up for the third reading and the other two were the Bills that would be passed in one reading only.
According to Mrs Gafarova, Item I is a draft resolution of the Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic about changes in the make-up of the Broadcasting Board of the Public TV and Radio (Broadcasting) Company. The members of the BB are electable by the national parliament pursuant to the Public Telecasting and Broadcasting Law of the Azerbaijan Republic. The tenures of three BB members expired this year; therefore, the Business Enterprising Council, the youth organisations and the women’s societies have submitted their candidates – two of each of the three parties – for consideration of the Milli Majlis.
The chair of the Culture Committee Ganira Pashayeva who spoke of this agenda item mentioned a string of organisational work done by the BB in view of the expiry of its members’ six-year-long tenures pursuant to Article 17.4 of the said low. Those members, too, were field at the time by the Business Enterprising Council, the youth organisations and the women’s societies. As regards the current candidates, one is to be selected from the listed submitted by each of the three parties. Once elected, the candidates will have to have their six-year memberships affirmed by the BB, which is what is suggested there is to do.
Opinions, remarks and suggestions concerning the work of the Public Television were voiced by the committee chairman Siyavush Novruzov and the MPs Fazil Mustafa, Etibar Aliyev, Parvin Karimzade, Sahib Aliyev, Hikmat Mammadov and Fazail Agamali.
The vote followed; consequently, Vugar Zeynalov (nominated by the Business Council), Azer Aliyev (for the youth organisations) and Sevil Yusifova (the women’s societies) were elected as members of the Broadcasting Board of the PTBC.
The Chair of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova said then that the Bills coming up next had to do with international treaties and were to be passed in one reading only as per the requirements of the Constitutional Law ‘On Regulatory Legal Acts’.
Vugar Bayramov of the Economic Policy, Industries and Enterprising Committee then informed the assembly of the Bill to ratify the agreement between the Azerbaijan Republic and the World Bank Group members about foundation and operation of their offices in the Azerbaijan Republic. Signed in Baku on 18 November 2021, the agreement covers not only the above-said matters but also bilateral co-operation opportunities. It specifies the membership of the Azerbaijan Republic in such WBG organisations as the International Bank for Re-construction and Development (the IBRD), the International Development Association (the IDA), the International Finance Corporation (the IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (the MIGA). It is further said in the document that those organisations are parties to the appropriate articles of the agreement that are binding upon the Azerbaijan Republic as well as to the Convention Establishing the MIGA. Besides, the document defines the status, the privileges and the immunities of the WBG members’ offices in the Azerbaijan Republic and indicates the intention of the Azerbaijani side to grant the WBG members the conditions required for their discharging of their respective functions and pursuing the goals in the country.
The chairman of the International and Inter-Parliamentary Relations Committee Samad Seyidov mentioned the favourable resolution of the Committee on the agreement, whereafter the Bill was put on vote and adopted in one reading.
Next, a member of the Economic Policy, Industries and Enterprising Committee Mazahir Efendiyev tabled the Bill on ratification of the inter-governmental customs co-operation and mutual assistance treaty between the Azerbaijan Republic and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The bilateral co-operation prospects are on the increase; the relevant steps, already in the plan, will bear well on the trade and push it up, according to Mr Efendiyev.
The document signed in Riyadh on 15 November 2021 underlines the need in precise evaluation of customs duties, taxes and other payments chargeable for exportation and importation of goods. The treaty also emphasises the importance of appropriate enforcement of the prohibitive, restrictive and controlling measures. The parties came to an accord respective the matters stipulated in the appropriate articles of the treaty, all subject to the international conventions to which they both are parties.
The chairman of the International and Inter-Parliamentary Relations Committee Samad Seyidov indicated the Committee’s favourable resolution regarding the treaty.
Then, the Bill was put on vote and adopted in one reading.
Going further, Elnur Allahverdiyev of the Economic Policy, Industries and Enterprising Committee tabled the Bill to ratify the protocol of amendment of the Agreement of Co-operation in Cellular Mobile Communication Systems’ Employment and Development, dated 17 January 1997 and signed at the meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of Government that was held in Moscow on that day. That agreement was concluded with the purpose of maintaining co-operation amongst the Commonwealth states in developing telecommunication systems and perfecting the inter-state liaison services market. According to MP Allahverdiyev, the proposed changes in the agreement envisage expanded interaction amongst the CIS republics in mobile radiotelephonic communication with the new functionality afforded by the modern digital standards of telephone communication, data transfers, the Internet access and mobile radiotelephonic communication being taken into account.
Following the document put before the House, the parties also intend to promote trans-border mobile telephony-supported services, facilitate the regulation of provision of communication operator services and take action to regulate the magnitude of the signals fed in by near-border stations. In addition, it is proposed to co-operate to address pressing security issues, including those consisting in financial losses caused by unauthorised or inferior-quality cordless network traffic.
As he was commenting on this item, Chairman of the International and Inter-Parliamentary Relations Committee Samad Seyidov said that the Bill was being adopted with reservations. In general, he added, the Azerbaijani side had invariably put in draft laws the provisos concerning the territorial integrity of the country. Our lands are liberated now, however; so, the current provisos concern the relationship between Azerbaijan and Armenia and refer to an extremely important consideration. The presence of such provisos in any law ensures that related matters will be addressed as they should eventually.
The MPs voted for the Bill’s adoption in one reading.
Samad Seyidov tabled the Bill on ratification of the inter-governmental agreement between the Azerbaijan Republic and the State of Qatar about non-visa arrangements for bearers of the regular passports. The parliamentary committee chairman said that the Bill mattered in that it was about making the Azerbaijani passport stronger.
In the main, the document contains the bilateral accord about facilitating two-way trips of both states’ citizens holding the regular passports and about also their sojourns in either country. The ultimate goal is to promote the friendly bonds further. The agreement envisages non-visa entries, travels en transit and departures as well as the short stays in either country for 30 days.
The document was put on vote and approved in one reading eventually.
The Media Bill was tabled in the third reading afterwards. Speaker Sahiba Gafarova reminded the MPs of the presence at the current plenary sitting of the media leaders and employees, adding that the Bill in question had been discussed thoroughly at the joint meeting of two parliamentary committees attended by the media people two days ago.
It was Chairman of the Human Rights Committee Zahid Oruj who gave an overview of the Media Bill (in the third reading). He told the plenum participants of the draft law’s purpose being making the sound journalism stronger. The CE Venice Commission had reacted favourably to the laws ‘On Mass Media’ and ‘On Telecasting and Broadcasting’, both of which had been drawn up on the basis of the document presented for the attention of the House. The Milli Majlis do not look as prohibitive upon the draft in which the law-makers have amalgamated the principles referenced earlier and which has the new regulatory norms added to it; the Milli Majlis is prepared for relevant discussions with any international organisation. Mr Oruj added that the media would continue employing all the means of communication, including the social media platforms, to transmit their stories, coverage pieces and other information since the future law is not devised to regulate social networks and the YouTube. Furthermore, registration in the Media Register is not compulsory for journalists; rather, it would be a voluntary procedure. Independent bloggers can continue without restrictions. The document does not pursue the goal of bringing all the journalists into the fold, as it were, demarked with the uniform IDs or badges: once more, the principle of voluntariness has been opted for here. And, last but not least, the draft law puts forth no new norms to limit the access to the information space for any political party or religious entity, Mr Oruj emphasised.
Going forth, the committee chairman told of the proposed amendments to the articles of the Media Bill. For instance, as suggested by news agencies, the wording ‘with the exception of a link-related query’ is to be added to Article 13.3 so that media outlets’ obligation to refer to links whilst using news agency materials should be stipulated with greater precision. Next, again, following media’s initiative, the word ‘interpreted’ has been replaced with ‘represented’ in the sentence that originally read ‘facts and events shall be interpreted impartially and objectively, with no unilateralism to be permitted’.
Further, it is stated abundantly clearly in the new Article 30.8 that ‘Persons transmitting audio-visual programmes directly via the Internet may solely obtain the platform broadcasting licences should they themselves apply for same’. By extension, it is stipulated in Article 30.2 that all platform broadcasters shall operate under the appropriate licences with the exception of the IPTV operators.
Another change is the deletion of the word ‘production’ from the formulation ‘production, transmission and broadcasting of programmes’ in Article 36 because the Bill does not apply to adequacy and/or usability assessment of any kind of technical equipment employed in production of programmes: this is no subject included in the scope of the document.
Mr Oruj went further to tell the House that the change in Article 39.1.2 was intended to unify the Bill with the provisions of the 2017 Law ‘On Restricting the Consumption of Tobacco Products’. Based on the new approach to the topic in the national legislation, then, the word ‘demonstrably’ has been deleted from the wording ‘ensuring the exhibition of special warning information about the harmful health and environmental effects of tobacco consumption in such programmes as those that depict the tobacco consumption process demonstrably’.
Also, Article 78.4 concerning imposition of pre-determined deadlines for adoption of regulatory legal acts has been removed from the Bill in view of the numerous debates that this issue had triggered.
Going further, the document now has the new Article 78.6 applicable to such situations that will emerge upon the eventual law’s Articles 26.3.1 and 74.2.3 coming into force. The said article is deemed necessary to avert any apprehension lest the Bill’s other articles forbidding persons formerly convicted for grave and gravest crimes as well as crimes against the public morality to establish media outlets would also be applied to relations caused to exist before the new law is enacted.
And the latest change concerns Article 26.3: it is considered expedient to replace the Articles 26.3.4 and 26.3.5 with Article 26.4 stating, ‘Political parties and religious entities may solely be founders (participants) of publication media’.
Completing his overview of the Bill, Zahid Oruj expressed his gratitude for their help with the drafting of it to the leader of the appropriate working group Ahmad Ismayilov as well as Chairman of the National Television and Broadcasting Board Ismat Sattarov and the Staff of the Milli Majlis.
First Deputy Chair of the Milli Majlis/Chairman of the Law Policy and State-Building Committee Ali Huseynli let the House know that the members of the committee he chairs had taken an active part in all the stages of the proceedings associated with the Bill at hand.
Ultimately, the Bill was voted for in the third reading.
Executive Director of the Media Development Agency Ahmad Ismayilov who was attending the plenary sitting underlined the exceptional public import of the future Media Law, in which connexion he voiced his appreciation of the repeated parliamentary deliberations upon the document and thanked the numerous mass media people and experts for having been so intent on those debates. Besides, Mr Ismayilov indicated his acknowledgement of the contributions to the working group’s task fulfilment and to the adjustment of the Bill at the parliamentary deliberations made by the chairmen of the parliamentary committees for Legal Policy and State-Building, and for Human Rights, as well as by all the MPs.
Going further, Anar Mammadov of the Economic Policy, Industries and Enterprising Committee told the House about the draft amendments to the Tax Code. The compulsory medical insurance implementation was started on 1 January 2020; the health care services that the facility encompasses are financed from the Compulsory Medical Insurance Fund. Those expenditures were exempted from the VAT for two years beginning on 1 January 2020. Well, the amendments now presented to the House envisage a one-year prolongation of the exemption.
MP Elshad Mirbashir oglu commended on the Bill and described it as another humanistic step taken by our State. The law-maker also put forth his proposals concerning the agenda item, whereupon the Bill was put on vote and passed in one reading.
First Deputy Chair of the Milli Majlis/Chairman of the Law Policy and State-Building Committee Ali Huseynli said as he was presenting the draft amendments to the Housing Code that the latter had designated the appropriate executive authority but had not contained the relevant laws. The Cabinet of Ministers is working on those rules as instructed by the President, which is why it is proposed that the word ‘the rules’ should be added to Article 146.4 of the Housing Code, Ali Huseynli explained.
The MPs voted for the adoption of the Bill in one reading.
Next, Speaker Sahiba Gafarova announced that the 9th item on the agenda was the address of the Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic on occasion of the World Azerbaijanis’ Solidarity Day. The drafting commission had done its work, the text was ready, Mrs Gafarova pointed out.
MP Konul Nurullayev read the address of the Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic on occasion of the World Azerbaijanis’ Solidarity Day. The parliamentary committee chair Hijran Huseynova and the MPs Aydin Guliyev and Nizami Jafarov shared their considerations, remarks and suggestions.
Deputy Chair of the Milli Majlis/Chairman of the Committee for Public Associations and Religious Entities as well as leader of the editorial commission for the address Fazail Ibrahimli expressed his feelings about the document. Mr Ibrahimli also replied to the questions asked by the MPs.
In the end, the address of the Milli Majlis of the Azerbaijan Republic on occasion of the World Azerbaijani’s Solidarity Day was put on vote and approved.
(The text of the parliamentary address will be taken out in the press in due course).
With the agenda completed, Chair of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova reminded the MPs that current meeting in plenary was the last one in the autumn parliamentary session and that, at the same time, it also marked the summary of the whole outbound year.
As she was outlining all the work carried out during the expiring session and throughout 2021, Mrs Gafarova mentioned the 16 plenary sittings of the autumn session at which the Milli Majlis had enacted 91 laws and 11 resolutions including 1 constitutional law and 71 amendments to the laws in effect. In general, the year 2021 has seen 38 plenary sittings marked by the enactment of 189 laws and 33 resolutions, amongst them 2 constitutional laws and 154 amendments to the laws in effect.
That sum of laws and resolutions included the Independence Day Law, the resolution of the Milli Majlis declaring an amnesty to honour the Victory Day on the 8th of November, the laws ‘On Employment of Renewable Energy Sources in Electricity Generation’, ‘On the Rational Exploitation of Energy Resources and the Energy Efficiency’ and ‘On Tourism’ as well as the Media Law enacted at today’s plenum. Mrs Gafarova underlined the 2022 State Budget Package consisting of 22 laws, most of them concerned with social matters.
The Milli Majlis fully used its legislative authority as per the Constitution during 2021. The work needed to extend the parliamentary support to the far-sighed domestic and foreign policies of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic, the esteemed Mr Ilham Aliyev, had been done duly, Madame Speaker pointed out.
Besides, the Milli Majlis passed the statements on the first anniversary of the beginning of the Patriotic War, the Memorial Day on the 27th of September and the Victory Day on the 8th of November. All those statements stated the due attitude to the tragedies that the people of Azerbaijan have experienced in the two hundred years past. They also stated that the great victory in the Patriotic War, won thanks to the military, political and diplomatic talents of the Azerbaijan Republic’s President and Commander-in-Chief Mr Ilham Aliyev brought about the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and, at the same time, heralded a new epoch in the history of the truly Azerbaijani land of Garabagh – the epoch of restoration and creation. On top of that, a new geopolitical reality settled in across the South Caucasian Region.
Those statements, Sahiba Gafarova stress, had been translated to English and sent to 82 national parliaments and 11 international parliamentary organisations. Also, the Milli Majlis sent relevant letters to 82 national parliaments and received in response messages with congratulations and expressions of support for us from the legislative assemblies of almost 30 countries as well as from a number of international parliamentary assemblies. The V-Day congratulations were received from academics, public figures and politicians of several countries, too.
At the same time, the Milli Majlis organised and conducted Memorial Day and V-Day events and ceremonies both in Azerbaijan and in 14 other countries. There were also the conferences arranged in conjunction with various universities.
The members of the Milli Majlis have had numerous meetings with the families of the Patriotic War shahids and of those killed by the Armenian missile salvos; they have also met with the war gazies. The legislators have been taking an active part in the annual wakes of the war victims, in perpetuation of their names and in other arrangements. On the whole, the members of the Azerbaijani parliament have taken in more than 2,200 events and ceremonies of the kind.
Also during the outbound year, the Chair of the Milli Majlis and the chairs of its committees have sent as many as 635 letters to the parliaments of Azerbaijan’s partner states and to the international parliamentary entities. In addition, the Chair of the Milli Majlis and the MPs have given frequent local and overseas mass media interviews and presentations. The members of the parliament have had meetings with overseas colleagues in 2021, too; there have been 75 live meetings and 152 online ones as well as telephone conversations and each time every opportunity and resource was tapped to secure international support for the just cause of our nation.
Madame Speaker added that the MPs had had 5,538 field and online surgeries concerning their respective constituencies as well.
The spring and autumn parliamentary sessions saw the hearing and registration of the 2020 performance reports submitted by the Cabinet of Ministers and the Chamber of Accounts as well as the annual briefs of the National Co-ordinator of the Struggle against Human Trafficking of the Azerbaijan Republic, the Executive Authority Controlling the Gender Equality Maintenance. Besides, there were the annual reports presented by the Human Rights Commissioner and by the administrative overseer of the municipalities. The 2022 State Budget was discussed and adopted, too.
The 16th of June was a historic day in the history of the Azerbaijani parliament, according to Sahiba Gafarova: the outstanding politician and statesman of the Turkic World, President of the fraternal Turkish Republic Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke at the Milli Majlis on that day as part of his then current official visit to our country. The speech of Mr Erdogan within the parliamentary walls demonstrated that the Turkish Republic’s president and people stood right by Azerbaijan’s side just as they had done at the time of the 44 days’ Patriotic War. It also went to show that the Turkish-Azerbaijani friendship and brotherhood were eternal and inviolable.
The signing by the leaders of the parliaments of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan of the trilateral Baku Declaration at the Milli Majlis on 27 July 2021 was another epochal achievement of the expiring year, according to Madame Speaker who stressed that the Baku Declaration serving the common interests of the three nations envisaged a continued strengthening of their inter-parliamentary co-operation as well as it does evolution of the bonds of fraternity and friendship that are established historically. At the same time, it was for the first time ever that the Milli Majlis become a founder of a trilateral co-operation format with the signing of that strategic document.
According to the speaker of the parliament of Azerbaijan, the trip of the chairman of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Mustafa Şentop and the chairman of the National Assembly of Pakistan Asad Qaiser to Shusha together with their respective delegations left an indelible impression on them whilst also having proved extremely useful. Whilst there, the guests could see how the Armenians had plundered and ruined our territories, towns and villages that had spent thirty years in the foes’ captivity. On the other hand, though, the visitors eye-witnessed the restoration and building work conducted there by Azerbaijan. Both the Turkish and the Pakistani parliamentarians were immensely impressed by their comfortable travel to Shusha via the ‘Victory Road’, the panorama of the then under-construction international airport of Fuzuli and the other infrastructural facilities. The delegations went to see the historical sights of Shusha and the local mosque that had been demolished during the whilom Armenian occupation but was being restored then already.
Sahiba Gafarova proceeded to draw the attention of the listeners to the fact that though under the certain pressure from the anti-pandemic struggle having lasted for longer than two years now, around the world as much as in Azerbaijan, the work done by the Milli Majlis had kept its momentum and cohesion. The committee and commission meetings, albeit mostly videoconferenced, have been held duly; besides, there have been live meetings as well and the four topical hearings.
The international connexions of the Azerbaijani parliament and their advancement were animated in comparison with previous year despite the pandemic situation. The autumn session has been packed with fruitful official and working abroad visits of the Milli Majlis delegations as much as the whole outgoing year has been. On those trips, both the speaker and the members of the Milli Majlis have attended and spoken at conferences, meetings and forums. Our MPs have been joining the events and assemblies of the international organisations and of the Milli Majlis partner parliaments held remotely.
Since the speaker of the parliament has given the House detailed accounts of all the foreign visits and their outcomes invariably, she limited that part of her speech at today’s plenary sitting to specific statistical data and concise overviews of all those official and working visits so as not to become repetitive.
Mrs Gafarova told the House that the Milli Majlis delegations she had helmed had paid 15 official and working visits to other countries; namely, there had been 5 official visits and 10 working trips. Other than those travels, the deputy chairs of the legislature of Azerbaijan had paid working visits to 6 countries and the MPs had gone to 64 countries more. Madame Chair and the delegation members had been taking part in numerous events during the journeys.
According to Sahiba Gafarova, she spoke at the 52nd and 53rd plenary sessions of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the Third Eurasian Women’s Forum and the international conferences arranged by a number of the equally international organisations during the parliamentary delegations’ working trips to St Petersburg, Russian Federation on 15-16 April, 12 October and 25 November.
Atour those, our delegation took an active part in the 2nd General Conference of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Co-operation Organisation (PAECO) in Islamabad on 1-2 June. The speaker of the Milli Majlis presided over the first session of the meeting of women parliamentarians within the frameworks of that conference upon the invitation of the conference hosts.
During the official visit of the Milli Majlis delegation to Hungary, then, Sahiba Gafarova offered her ideas about the Turkic Council shaping its strategic vision as she spoke at the event honouring 2021 – the Nizami Ganjavi Year – on the premises of the Turkic Council’s Budapest Office on 29 June. During the same visit also, Speaker Gafarova and the Azerbaijani MPs met with Hungary’s PM, FM, Speaker of Parliament and members of the Hungary-Azerbaijan friendship groups.
Going on, Mrs Gafarova also recalled the work trip of the Milli Majlis delegation to Austria that had begun on 5 September and lasted until 9 September. Whilst in Vienna, Mrs Gafarova delivered a speech at the world conference of speakers of parliaments themed ‘The Global Response to COVID-19 Pandemic Challenges Multilateralism’s Ability to Deliver for the People’. She told her audience in the capital city of Austria of the compelling need in expansion of efforts by the international community in the fight against COVID-19. Mrs Gafarova also informed her Viennese audience of the global-scale anti-pandemic initiatives proposed by our country and of Azerbaijan’s relevant action. She mentioned the suggestion, made by President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and backed by more than 150 states, to convene a special session of the UN General Assembly on battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Such a special session did take place in NYC in December 2020 ultimately as Mrs Gafarova underlined in her speech at that congress of the speakers of parliaments.
There was an equally great output from our participation of the European Conference of the Presidents of Parliament during the procedure trip to Athens on 20-22 October. The speeches by Sahiba Gafarova were delivered at the event sessions that had rallied the leaders of 47 national parliaments and dedicated to the subjects of ‘Democracies Facing the Covid-19 Public Health Crisis’ and ‘The Common Future of All European Citizens’.
Whilst continuing her summary of the ending year, Madame Chair emphasised the discussion of the modern challenges to democracy at the 143rd assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the inception of the Parliamentary Network of the Non-Aligned Movement on the assembly’s sidelines in Madrid on 27-28 November.
Sahiba Gafarova pointed out that she had been proud to chair, as the Milli Majlis leader, at the foundation session attended by up to 200 delegates from approximately 50 countries, because the Madrid Declaration establishing the NAP PN was passed there. A new international entity came to light as the initiative of the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the brainchild of our country.
Similarly to all the initiatives of President Aliyev, the newly-founded international institution, too, will prove successful as a multi-faceted collaboration platform of the participating states, Madame Chair emphasised.
Then, she mentioned the special importance also of the 16th conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation held in Istanbul on 10 December and themed ‘Sharing, Conscience and the Islam: Palestine, Migration and Afghanistan’. In her speech there, the speaker of the Azerbaijani legislature said that, amongst other things, the escalation of integration of the PUIC member-states would enable them to make a more effective use of the rich natural resources, transport opportunities and intellectual potentials of our regions.
The official visits of the delegations of the Milli Majlis to Italy on 17-19 May, to Hungary on 28-30 June, to Iran on 5-6 August, to Kazakhstan on 27-29 September and to Slovakia on 7-9 October proved extremely efficient as well.
During the foreign trips there were official meetings of our delegations with the visited countries’ high-ranking officials: three with the presidents, two with the prime ministers and 35 with the parliamentary speakers, according to Sahiba Gafarova. Also, there were fruitful encounters with members of the groups of friendship with Azerbaijan active in the national legislative assemblies.
At all the meetings and in all her speeches, be it on official or working visits, continued Chair Gafarova, she and the Azerbaijani MPs had spoken of Azerbaijan’s confident victory in the Patriotic War coupled with the deliverance of its lands from the occupation by the armed forces of Armenia. They had also talked about the restoration of both the national territorial integrity and of historic justice and the already-in-progress spacious programmes aimed at eliminating the aftermath of the occupation. Those subjects had been the red-line ones in all the speeches and presentations without exception.
Madame Speaker recalled next that she had received the chairmen of the parliaments of three countries, one overseas PM, the foreign ministers of three other countries, the ambassadors of sixteen countries to Azerbaijan and ten active Azerbaijani ambassadors within the walls of the Milli Majlis in 2021.
Summing up, Sahiba Gafarova said that, thus, the Milli Majlis had concluded successfully its autumn session and the whole year 2021 alike, in which regard she expressed her deep recognition of the efficient and fruitful work done by all. Thanking also the employees of the Staff and the Administration of the Milli Majlis, Sahiba Gafarova highlighted the fact that not a single session or meeting had been cancelled or omitted despite the pandemic either last or this year. On the contrary, each assembly had proved efficient. The employees of the Milli Majlis Staff and Administration had been doing all within their power to ensure the MPs would have normal working conditions.
The splendid holidays of the World Azerbaijanis’ Solidarity Day and the New Year’s Eve are coming, Chair Gafarova added before congratulating all on those. Her congratulations also went out to the mass media people covering the plenum; Sahiba Gafarova wished them and the MPs to be gathered in this Chamber next year also.
After that, Mrs Gafarova suggested a congratulatory letter to President Ilham Aliyev and First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva on behalf of the Milli Majlis, wishing them new achievements in their crucial work in the name of the continued strengthening and progress of the Azerbaijani State and the well-being of the nation. Madame Speaker’s suggestion was met with applause.
Sahiba Gafarova then declared the autumn session of the Milli Majlis concluded. The National Anthem of the Azerbaijan Republic was sounded.
That was the finale of the autumn parliamentary session of the year 2021.
The Press and Public Relations Department
The Milli Majlis