Belgian parliamentarians participated in the wedding ceremony in Galaibugurd village in Shamakhi.
Baku – APA. 5 members delegation of the working group on interparliamentary relations between Belgium-Azerbaijan paid a visit to Azerbaijan on 4-8 July, held several meetings. Elkhan Suleymanov, the deputy and the head of the working group on Azerbaijan-Belgium interparliamentary relations, gave an interview to APA about the discussed issues and the purpose of the visit.– What was the main purpose of the visit of Belgian delegation to Azerbaijan?
– Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan has bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the parliaments of different countries. Multilateral cooperation means the cooperation within the framework of different international organizations, bilateral cooperation refers to the one built directly between two countries. In fact, the efficiency of multilateral cooperation mostly depends on the level and closeness degree of bilateral cooperative relations. Therefore, Milli Mejlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan has established relationships in different levels with the parliaments of stakeholder countries and of Belgium as well. Working groups on interparliamentary relations with the stakeholder countries were established to improve these relationships more intensively and dynamically. The working group on interparliamentary relations between Belgium-Azerbaijan is one of these groups. Analogical working group was also established by Belgian parliament. The working group on interparliamentary relations between Belgium-Azerbaijan under the leadership of Mr. Philip Blanshar paid an acquainting visit to our country. The delegation held meetings with the Commissioner for Human Rights Elmira Suleymanova, the Minister of Culture and Tourism, the Chairman of State Committee for Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov within the visit. The country’s progress on legal, democratic state building and human rights defence, multibranch projects implemented in Azerbaijan, development opportunities and perspectives of cultural relations between Azerbaijan-Belgium were discussed at the meetings. At the meeting held in the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs the guests were given information about invasion of 20 % of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia, the ethnic cleansing policy carried out in those occupied lands by invader Armenia, how more than 1 million people became refugees and IDPs, arisen of emergency humanitarian situation in the region as a result of invasion. The guests also visited “Caspian Fish” and “Sangachal” oil terminal to see the economic growth in our country and also traveled to Shamakhi region from where I was elected deputy to the parliament.
– Did you discuss any joint action plan with Belgian parliamentarians?
– Although Belgian parliamentarians paid an acquainting visit to our country, we also held discussions about our forthcoming activities and basing on these discussions we made a plan of activities to be carried out during next 2 years. The activities included in the plan basically will be practical and will be aimed at introducing Azerbaijan to Belgian society, forming unbiased and sincere opinion about our country. It is very important issue. Because Belgium is one of the countries constituting intereuropean organizations, takes an active role in development and improvement of European values. On the other hand, as a member to EU Belgian Kingdom recognized state independence of Azerbaijan on December 31, 1991 and diplomatic relations were made between the countries on June 17, 1992. There is a great potential to develop cooperation between the countries in different fields and current cooperation between Azerbaijan-Belgium doesn’t correspond to the level of this potential. It would be enough to emphasize the fact that only 7 documents have been signed between Azerbaijan-Belgium till now. Therefore, the action plan that we set with Belgian parliamentarians is aimed at closing these gaps in cooperation between the countries and raising it up to a new level.
– What concrete activities are meant to be carried out in the action plan?
Cooperation among the universities is also considered in the action plan. It is also planned to make student exchange program between a university of Azerbaijan and one of Belgium and to give lectures mutually about Azerbaijan-Belgium. Moreover, we also agreed to broadcast programmes about our countries on an Azerbaijani and Belgian TV channel, to create the forums of businessmen of the two countries. It has also been included in action plan to hold discussions and proper events in Belgian parliament on Azerbaijan’s state independence in autumn 2011, Khojali tragedy in February 2012, 20 year anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in June 2012. The head of working group on interparliamentary relations between Belgium-Azerbaijan Mr. Philip Blanshar is the mayor of Thuin city. We could reach an agreement on signing necessary documents to make Shamakhi and Thuin twin cities and on starting different mutual events in the nearest future. Mutual visits of art workers of both countries, implementation of joint business projects, different business forums in Shamakhi in the middle of 2012 and at the end of 2011 in Thuin, inauguration of the bust of M.A. Sabir in Thuin in 2012 on the occasion of 150 year anniversary of his birthday, celebration of “Sabir day” and other activities are considered among the above-mentioned events.
– You noted that the members of working group on interparliamentary relations between Belgium-Azerbaijan visited Shamakhi….
– Belgian parliamentarians paid a visit to Shamakhi on July 7. They had a meeting with the head of local executive power Asif Mammadov. The guests were informed about construction work in Shamakhi and they held mutual discussions on interesting issues. Afterwards, the guests paid a visit to Galaibugurd village which is one of the remotest part of Shamakhi. The parliamentarians also participated at the wedding ceremony of Bahlul and Ramila, the young Azeri couple in Galaibugurd, after getting acquainted with living conditions of the people in the village. Azerbaijani parliamentarians Ganira Pashayeva, Ali Huseynov, Khanhuseyn Kazimov, Rovshan Rzayev and Azer Kerimli, scientists and art workers of Azerbaijan, popular singers, People’s artists Alim Gasimov and Sheikh Abdul, Honored artists Zabit Nabizadeh and Azad Shukurov, a famous Azerbaijani singer Azerin, well-known producer and actor Ramiz Azizbeyli, the participants of mugam song contests Vusal Israfilov, Valeh Israfilov and others also participated in the wedding ceremony that I organized and was held corresponding to Azerbaijani traditions. By the way, all of the singers and musicians hereinabove mentioned are originally from Shamakhi. I would like to thank Alim Gasimov and the others for their disinterested participation at the wedding. The bridegroom Bahlul’s father Mardan fought in the battles over Karabakh and became invalid, the bride Ramila’s father became invalid during Afghanistan war in the former Soviet Union. Foundation laydown of the house to be built for the couple was a memorable part of the wedding ceremony. After the ceremony held in mountainous lap of nature under national music, the head of working group on interparliamentary relations between Belgium-Azerbaijan Mr. Philip Blanshar told addressing to the wedding participants that he rediscovered Azerbaijan coming to Galaibugurd and participating in the wedding ceremony. Afterwards the guests enjoyed dancing Yalli. I consider that the foundation of the house to be built in the future will give a push to development of cooperation in all fields between Belgium-Azerbaijan.
– What do you plan to do in Shamakhi in the nearest future?
– There are a lot of activities to be carried out in Shamakhi and I promised in the meetings with the voters during my pre-election campaign to do my best in solution of existing problems in the region. I am doing certain work in this direction, but it is still early to talk about the results. It is very important to have face-to-face contacts with the voters, to share their thoughts and problems. As you know, the holy month Ramadan comes soon. I am planning to give iftar parties (meal to break the fast) to my voters in 59 villages of Shamakhi in Ramadan and I will also join them. Another issue is over the mosque being built in Charhan village in the region. In fact, the construction process has been postponed for unknown reasons. I make an effort for the completion of the construction and for its turnkey. It is known that 150 year anniversary of great Azerbaijani poet M.A.Sabir who is from Shamakhi will be celebrated this year. In respect to this event we held a competition in Shamakhi in May. We also plan to extend this competition all over the country from August and to end it next May in Shamakhi. Another issue is over care and aid for labour veterans among the voters. The labour veteran Afshan Aslanova who lives in Malikchobanli village of Shamakhi will celebrate her 70th birthday. She has been the director of the library in Malikchobanli village since 1961. We also plan to organize an event in Shamakhi on the occasion of A. Aslanova’s 70 year anniversary in the autumn of this year.