By Vafa Ismayilova
Parliament Speaker Sahiba Gafarova has urged the international community to speak out against Armenia's refusal to provide mine maps of Azerbaijan's formerly-occupied territories.
She made the remarks at a meeting with the Italian Senate's Foreign Affairs and Emigration Committee President Vito Petrocelli on April 12 while commenting on Armenia's refusal to give Azerbaijan maps of minefields.
“Cities, houses, villages, as well as monuments of history, culture and religion, were completely destroyed. Unfortunately, Armenia will not give up its criminal activity in any way. Despite all appeals, it continues to violate the principles of international law, refusing to hand over minefield maps to Azerbaijan... The international community must speak out against such steps that threaten peace and security,” she said.
Many Azerbaijani civilians and servicemen were killed and wounded as a result of mine explosions.
Stressing support by many Italian parliamentarians for Azerbaijan's just cause, Gafarova recalled massive destructions and acts of vandalism committed by Armenia in Azerbaijan's regions liberated from the 30-year occupation.
Speaking about the role of the Italian official's visit, Gafarova said that it will serve to intensify the inter-parliamentary cooperation.
“The cooperation between Azerbaijan and Italy, based on ancient historical roots, has moved to a qualitatively new level after the restoration of Azerbaijan’s independence. The mutual visits of the presidents of the two countries and the negotiations held by them played a significant role in achieving the current high level of bilateral ties, a reliable legal basis for which is ensured by the signed bilateral documents,” the parliament speaker said.
Gafarova said that not only political and economic but also cultural, humanitarian, academic and educational ties and cooperation between the two countries are at a high level.
“The projects implemented in Italy by Azerbaijani First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva as President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and ISESCO and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador are well known to the general public. Such projects serve to further intensify the relations between our countries and peoples,” she added.
Gafarova also stressed the great role of the two parliaments in the development of Azerbaijan-Italy relations“.
"Over the past years, close cooperation of the Azerbaijani parliament with both chambers of the Italian parliament has been formed. Friendship groups operate in both parliaments. Inter-parliamentary ties are being more strengthened thanks to the mutual high-level visits," she said.
Petrocelli conveyed greetings to Gafarova from Italian Senate President, Senator Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati.
He underlined the very high level of bilateral ties and said that cooperation in the energy sector is of particular importance.
Petrocelli stressed Azerbaijan's most important role in ensuring Europe's energy security. During the meeting, the sides also exchanged views on interparliamentary ties and other topics of mutual interest.
Some 20 Azerbaijani citizens, including 14 civilians were killed and 87 citizens, including 16 civilians were injured after the signing of the Karabakh peace deal by the Azerbaijani, Armenian and Russian leaders on November 10, 2020.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on February 26 described Armenia’s failure to provide the maps of mined areas in liberated lands as the main difficulty for Azerbaijani IPDs to return to their homes. He said that this can also be considered to be a war crime as several servicemen and civilians were killed in mine blasts on liberated territories after the war.
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10 brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.
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