Milli Majlis Chair Sahiba Gafarova Met with a Delegation of France's National Assembly

Milli Majlis Chair Sahiba Gafarova Met with a Delegation of France's National Assembly

Chair of the Milli Majlis Sahiba Gafarova met with the visiting delegation of the National Assembly of France on 22 February.

Welcoming the guests warmly, Mrs Gafarova referred to the rich history of the Azerbaijani-French relations that had advanced at the most different levels in certain timespans. The independent Azerbaijan considers it particularly important to deepen its relations with France. The negotiations held during the mutual visits of President Ilham Aliyev and the President of France as well as the documents signed during them had added the qualitatively new aspects to the interaction, Mrs Gafarova said.

The high-level political dialogue is having a good influence on the economic, cultural and humanitarian collaboration while a glance over the volume of bilateral trade attained last year makes it clear that there is advancement in that area, too. French companies are active in Azerbaijan today and the work they are doing is commendable. The mutual investments made in diverse areas spell a dramatic potential to be tapped.

Madame Chair underlined during the conversation the immense importance of the on-going development of the interparliamentary relations that came to occupy a special place in the paradigm of interstate relations. Intensifying the latter is in the interests of both nations. The two-way visits and meetings of our MPs are as important because they provide opportunities to discuss the matters that concern the two sides alike.

Having said that, Madame Chair highlighted the relevant roles of the friendship groups that continue their positive activities in the two national parliaments. When First Vice President Mrs Mehriban Aliyeva was a Member of the Milli Majlis, she helmed the latter's group of friendship with France and made a special contribution to the progress of the interrelations. That has become a tradition that the current members of the same group follow successfully today. Mrs Gafarova mentioned the French Senate's group of friendship with the Caucasus and suggested that setting up a stand-alone group on Azerbaijan would generate an added momentum behind the future progress of our co-operation.

Then, Madame Chair stressed that the French MPs  were visiting our country at a historic moment following Azerbaijan having freed its lands from the Armenian occupation and restored its territorial integrity in the course of the 44-day Patriotic War. Unfortunately, however, it was precisely during this fateful period that certain biased opinions about the right cause of Azerbaijan were put forth in the French Parliament; also, statements and documents of the same biased nature were passed, alas.Naturally, this cannot but disturb the Azerbaijani side which would like the legislative body of such a state as France is to picture the reality of our region and the stance of Azerbaijan impartially and to communicate them to the French public undistorted. Mrs Gafarova expressed her confidence that the members of the French National Assembly's group of friendship with Azerbaijan would become more energetic about achieving this.

Madame Speaker cited several facts about the Highland Garabagh Conflict and told the visitors that the 26th of February would mark the 29th anniversary of the Khojali Tragedy, of that massacre committed by the Armenian Fascists that took the lives of 613 civilians (including women, children and old people) mercilessly and merely because they were Azerbaijanis. The parliaments and friendship groups of many a country have issued statements in connection with this disaster already.

Madame Chair also spoke of our humanitarian relations, in which context she mentioned the operation of one French lyceum and a French university in Azerbaijan. On the other hand, Azerbaijan has succeeded in implementing several humanitarian projects in France, she remarked.

Member of the National Assembly of France Majid El Qerab thanked the Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament for the kind welcome before telling her that France considered it especially important to promote its relations with the South Caucasus and that the French MPs taking part in this meeting were Azerbaijan's friends.

The guest admitted with regret that, indeed, the realia of this region are not always represented in the legislative authority of France in their true perspective. But, he added, the French MPs understood the concerns of the Azerbaijani side and meant to tell their colleagues, fully and without a bias, of all they had seen and were to see yet during their current visit to our country. Some lawmakers and a certain portion of the society in France share false concepts of the true state of affairs – they need to be informed thoroughly of the cultural diversity and the interest in the French culture in Azerbaijan as well as the work that the French education institutions are doing in this country, Mr El Qerab continued.

The French MPs Frederick Dumas, Belkir Baladad, Mostapha Laabid, Carole Bureau-Bonnard and Michel Delpon praised the secular character of Azerbaijan, the tolerance reigning in the country and the interest in the French culture. They said that a purposeful work should be done to make the rightful voice of Azerbaijan sound louder and ensure that the developments unfolding in the region are communicated to the public without distortions.

The guests announced their intention to voice their ideas of our country’s righteous cause as well as to tell the truth of the Khojali Tragedy in their parliament. Besides, they are going to see to it that all that is put in the documents circulated on behalf of their parliamentary friendship group.

Future progress vectors of the interparliamentary contacts, the efforts made to combat the current pandemic and other subjects of interest to both sides were discussed during the meeting as well.
Leader of the Milli Majlis Working Group for the interparliamentary contacts with France Soltan Mammadov, the member of the same group Javanshir Feyziyev, Chief of the Staff of the Azerbaijani Parliament Safa Mirzayev and other officials took part in the meeting.


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