Speaker of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova made a speech at the National Assembly of this country on December 7 within the framework of her official visit to Turkmenistan.

According to the information given to APA by the Milli Majlis, Sahiba Gafarova pointed out that her first official visit to Turkmenistan as the chairman of the Milli Majlis coincides with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

Our peoples who have lived peacefully for centuries are united by a common history, culture, language and religion.

In recent years, thanks to the determination of our heads of state, our bilateral relations, which cover political, economic, transport, energy, humanitarian and other fields, have expanded further and reached the level of strategic partnership.

Today, the works and projects implemented in our countries in a number of fields not only contribute to the strengthening of our bilateral relations, but also serve stability, prosperity, sustainable development and cooperation in our region and in the wider space.

Our countries show mutual support to each other within the framework of the international organizations they represent.

The chairman of the Milli Majlis took the opportunity to congratulate the brotherly people of Turkmenistan on the occasion of the next anniversary of the recognition of Turkmenistan's neutrality in the international world, which will be celebrated in a few days.

He said that Azerbaijan joined the UN resolution recognizing the neutrality of Turkmenistan as a co-author.

The President of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, noted the importance of Turkmenistan's neutrality status and emphasized that Turkmenistan gained great influence in the international world as a result of its independent foreign policy.

Speaker Sahiba Gafarova pointed out that the current level of relations between our brotherly countries encourages us, as representatives of our peoples, to further expand our existing relations.

Today, a very effective cooperation has been established between our legislative bodies.

Mutual visits of parliament chairmen and members, meetings within the framework of various international events, joint activities of our friendship groups contribute to the strengthening of relations between our people and the deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries.

The Memorandum on cooperation that we will sign today between the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the People's Consultative Assembly of the National Council of Turkmenistan serves this purpose.

The chairman of the Milli Majlis said that cooperation within the framework of international parliamentary organizations is gaining special relevance in the current era, when the importance of parliamentary diplomacy is increasing.

Our parliamentary delegations successfully cooperate in international organizations such as the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

The Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network, which was established in Madrid last November at the initiative of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev as the chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, is an important platform in terms of further strengthening multilateral cooperation between our parliaments.

The head of the Parliament of Azerbaijan informed the meeting participants about today's realities of Azerbaijan.

He said that although Azerbaijan, which has ancient traditions of statehood, created the first democratic parliamentary republic in the Muslim East in 1918, this republic lived for only 23 months.

In 1991, Azerbaijan regained its state independence.

In the first years, our country faced the danger of losing its independence due to the tense political and economic situation, the threat of civil war, and the occupation of our lands by Armenia.

Only thanks to the determination, great experience and visionary policy of National Leader Heydar Aliyev, who returned to power at the insistence of the people of Azerbaijan, our country was able to maintain its independence, the foundations of statehood were formed and important projects ensuring economic development were implemented.

The chairman of the Milli Majlis drew attention to the fact that from 2003 until today, the economy of Azerbaijan developed rapidly and increased more than 3 times.

Diversification of the economy through the development of the non-oil sector has been identified as the main priority.

As a result of the socio-economic reforms, unemployment decreased to approximately 6 percent, and the poverty level decreased from 49 percent to approximately 5 percent.

In general, 280 billion US dollars have been invested in the economy of Azerbaijan, half of which is foreign investment.

With a thoughtful strategy in the energy sector, large-scale investments and the implementation of oil and gas projects such as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum, TANAP, TAP, Southern Gas Corridor, Azerbaijan contributes to the energy security of its partners, becoming a reliable energy exporter.

The most modern transport infrastructure has been created in our country.

Located on the East-West and North-South transport corridors, Azerbaijan is one of the main transport and logistics centers of Eurasia today.

Today, Azerbaijan implements an independent policy based on the norms and principles of international law.

The goals of peace, security and cooperation are at the heart of all initiatives put forward by Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan was elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2012-2013 with the support of 155 countries, which demonstrates the level of trust of the international community in our country.

Currently, Azerbaijan successfully chairs the Non-Aligned Movement, which is the second largest international institution in the world after the UN.

We highly appreciate Turkmenistan's continuous support for the initiatives put forward by Azerbaijan to strengthen global solidarity in the fight against the challenges of the modern era.

Speaker Sahiba Gafarova noted in her speech that 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territories were occupied by our neighbor Armenia for nearly 30 years.

Unfortunately, 4 resolutions of the UN Security Council and numerous decisions and resolutions of other international organizations have not been implemented.

During the occupation, Armenia completely destroyed all our villages and cities, subjected our historical, cultural and religious monuments to vandalism, and insulted our mosques and holy places.

As a result of the ethnic cleansing carried out by Armenia, more than 1 million of our compatriots became refugees and internally displaced persons.

Armenia committed the Khojaly genocide in 1992 and brutally murdered hundreds of Azerbaijanis.

After the first Karabakh war, about 3900 Azerbaijanis are still missing.

The chairman of the Milli Majlis drew attention to the fact that in 2020, Azerbaijan achieved a historic victory in the 44-day Patriotic War, restored its territorial integrity and historical justice, and ensured the implementation of four resolutions of the UN Security Council.

Immediately after the liberation of our lands from occupation, Azerbaijan started large-scale restoration and construction works in those areas at its own expense.

Currently, all the infrastructure destroyed during the occupation is being restored.

New cities and villages are being built in Karabakh and East Zangezur, which have been declared a "green energy" zone.

Already from this year, the return of former internally displaced persons to their homes has started.

The biggest obstacle to the work being carried out is the numerous landmines buried by Armenia in the lands freed from occupation.

As of November 10, 2020, about 270 Azerbaijanis were killed and injured as a result of mine explosions.

Armenia still refuses to submit complete and accurate mine maps of all liberated territories to Azerbaijan, on the contrary, it continues to plant mines in our territories.

Despite being a victim of occupation, it is Azerbaijan that is making efforts to ensure long-term peace and stability in the region.

Azerbaijan proposed to Armenia the normalization of relations and the signing of a peace agreement based on 5 principles of international law.

Unfortunately, Armenia still hinders this process with its destructive steps and contradictory statements and does not fulfill its obligations.

Until now, Armenia has not completely removed its illegal armed groups from the territories of Azerbaijan and refuses to ensure unhindered communication between Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

However, the Zangezur corridor, which will become an important part of the East-West transport corridor, will benefit the entire region.

Armenia should refrain from such behavior and take real steps to sign a peace agreement.

This is the only way to ensure long-term peace and stability in the region.

At the end of his speech, the chairman of the Milli Majlis once again touched on Azerbaijan-Turkmenistan relations and said that the friendly and brotherly relations between our countries, and the cooperation relations that are expanding day by day, make us very happy.

We, as members of the parliament, should increase our efforts to further strengthen these relations, strengthen our solidarity and joint activities.

Because it stems from the will of our people and serves the interests of our countries.

Concluding his speech, the head of the Parliament of Azerbaijan conveyed his wishes for peace, prosperity and progress to Turkmenistan.