By Sabina Idayatova
Azerbaijan's parliament opened its spring session with a first plenary sitting last Friday. The lawmakers will discuss several bills and annual reports of the Accounting Chamber, the Ombudsman, municipalities, etc., Speaker Ogtay Asadov said speaking about the Milli Majlis agenda for the spring session.
After the MPs' opinions and suggestions were heard, the agenda of the 2013 spring session was approved.
Furthermore, chairman of the Legal Policy and State Building Committee and deputy head of the Azerbaijani delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Ali Huseynli, broadly informed the MPs of the work that has been done during the PACE winter session.
Huseynli said the European parliamentarians realized the threats posed to Europe by the report on alleged political prisoners in Azerbaijan by German MP Christopher Strasser and therefore opposed the document.
"The failure of the report's adoption has shown once again the strength of the Azerbaijani state," he added.
Huseynli also said that the Armenian delegation at PACE and its supporters were confounded when a report presented by co-rapporteur on Azerbaijan Pedro Agramunt reflected objective information regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict overall, Armenian armed forces' occupation of Azerbaijani territories and the fact that as a result more than one million Azerbaijanis became refugees and IDPs.
The MPs also made a decision to appeal to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over hosting the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Speaker Asadov said that the parliament stated its positive stance on holding the Olympics and Paralympics in Azerbaijan and calls on the IOC to approve Baku's bid.
Then the MPs agreed on re-establishing the Parliamentary Disciplinary and Accounting commissions, considered and approved the agreement between the governments of Azerbaijan and Uruguay on the elimination of mutual visa requirements for the holders of diplomatic and official passports, and a bill on joining the Additional Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption.
Informing the MPs about the document, Huseynli said the country has taken important and decisive measures to combat corruption.
Amendments to the law on environmentally friendly agriculture were discussed by the parliamentarians as well.
According to Huseynli, valuable samples of plants cultivated through selection in Azerbaijan are replaced by different non-regional varieties and hybrids brought from abroad. These include a number of sorts of wheat, barley, maize, rice, watermelon, apples, grapes, etc.
Huseynli says most of more than 2,000 local traditional species of plants registered at a relevant database have been lost, while the rest is held in adverse conditions in research institutes. Moreover, some sorts of plants belonging exclusively to Azerbaijan are appropriated by Armenia.
"Therefore, this document seriously raised the question of preserving the varieties of plants belonging to the Azerbaijani people," he said.
Following the discussions, the MPs voted on the bill and the document was approved.
Changes were introduced as well to the Code of Administrative Violations, the law on patents and a number of other laws, including the law on environmental protection.
The parliament members noted that these amendments will further improve domestic legislation in the related areas.
Later, MP Fuad Muradov touched on the issue of accelerating adoption of the Law on Social Mortgage, which envisages providing preferential mortgage loans for young families.
"It is necessary to speed up the adoption of the law as the society has a need for it," Muradov said.
Passage of the law on Social Mortgage was not included in the parliament's spring session agenda.