President Ilham Aliyev receives delegation led by chair of European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received a delegation led by chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister.

Addressing the meeting, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Good morning. I remember our last meeting was five years ago.

Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister:

- Islamic Solidarity Games were held that year.

President Ilham Aliyev: Yes, it was 2017. It has been a long time. A delegation from the European Parliament hasn’t been here in a long time. I remember the last delegation visiting Azerbaijan in 2018. To be honest, I was even a little surprised when I heard that you were planning on a trip to Azerbaijan. You may know the reason. I remember the meeting where we extensively discussed the development of cooperation. Unfortunately, it did not happen. The reason was not associated with us, but with the position of certain members of the European Parliament. We consider that position completely unfounded. Accusations, insults and false information were circulated against us. I have even forgotten the number of anti-Azerbaijani resolutions adopted by the European Parliament at different times. We are probably talking about more than 10 resolutions. In particular, a resolution was adopted after the Patriotic War. This is particularly worrying because the resolution refers to the destruction of Armenian cultural heritage in Karabakh. This is not true. That resolution was adopted in March of this year. In other words, it happened a year and a half after the end of the war.

Since the war ended, there have been numerous visits by representatives of different embassies, politicians, parliament speakers of some European countries, and journalists. All of them witnessed the complete destruction of Azerbaijan's cultural heritage. They did not see the destruction of any Armenian cultural heritage. On the contrary, Armenian cultural heritage is protected both in Baku and Karabakh. During the occupation, 65 out of 67 mosques were destroyed by Armenia. Not a word is being said about that. They kept pigs and cows in our mosques, destroyed our cities and villages.

We currently organize visits and every citizen of Azerbaijan can visit Shusha, Fuzuli and Aghdam. Everyone can see the scale of Armenian vandalism and barbarism. Under such circumstances, it is completely unacceptable to adopt a lop-sided resolution that accuses Azerbaijan of things we have never committed and to turn a blind eye to the actions of Armenia and Armenians in our territories. Unfortunately, this has happened. I know that many members of your delegation voted in favor of that resolution. This is a completely counterproductive step. First of all, it is false and is based on fabricated facts, slander and libel. Secondly, it doesn't matter that much because, as you probably know, there is a good history of relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan. These relations are developing very successfully especially now.

You are probably aware of the visit by the President of the European Commission, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen yesterday. We had a very good discussion. This once again emphasizes the importance of bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and the European Union. At the same time, the President of the Council of the European Union, Mr. Charles Michel, was heavily involved in the process of normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. He has already hosted three tripartite meetings with the participation of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan and himself. So this is a very positive context. However, taking this into account, we cannot understand the actions of the European Parliament. In fact, the European Parliament is more aggressive towards Azerbaijan than the Armenian Parliament. Sometimes it seems that these resolutions are adopted by the Armenian parliament or perhaps some Armenian lobby groups have some influence on them. Otherwise, it is very difficult to understand that. This is what I mean when I said I was surprised.

Mr. McAllister, I am pleased to see you. I remember our meeting. I know you did not vote in favor of this resolution, but, unfortunately, many European parliamentarians have been attacking us without any reason whatsoever. Such is the situation. We are living in a real world. It is not our choice. You know my position. My position has not changed since our last meeting in 2017. We want to build close relations with Europe, and everything we do, including the visible signs of cooperation that I have just mentioned, demonstrates this. But if the European Parliament thinks of following such a path, it is their choice. But they should know that it is impossible to isolate Europe from Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan from Europe despite the efforts of some members of the parliament.

That will probably be the end of my opening remarks. I thought it was necessary. I know that your trip has just started – this morning – and I don't want to act like nothing happened. Things have happened, very serious and worrying issues have happened. Therefore, I decided to inform you about the views of the absolute majority of the Azerbaijani people and myself. They are proud of our lands being liberated, of our brave soldiers, of those who died for the Motherland, of being Azerbaijanis, of being representatives of a nation that has put an end to the occupation, restored justice and national dignity, and is now successfully developing.

Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister said:

- Mr. President. Thank you for hosting us. It is a great honor for us. Thank you for the candid words at the beginning of our conversation. Our delegation includes six members of parliament. Our visit to the South Caucasus will continue throughout the week. After the visit to Azerbaijan, we will travel to Georgia and then to Armenia.

Mr. President, I would like to introduce to you my colleagues from the European Parliament. Mrs. Assita Kanko is from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group. Viola Von Cramon represents the Green Group. On the other side of the table is Mr. Sven Mikser, who is a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. Sitting at the end of the table is Mr. Mariani, a representative of the Democracy Group. And this is Peter Michalko, who, as you know, is the Ambassador representing the European Union to your country.

Our visit is an indication of the importance we attach to the relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan. These relations manifest themselves more clearly in the current period of historical change.

Mr. President, we would like to take this opportunity to ask you about your impressions about the visit of the President of the European Commission, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, to your country yesterday.

The President of Azerbaijan touched upon the importance of the visit of the President of the European Commission, Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen, to Azerbaijan and positively evaluated the results of the visit. President Ilham Aliyev emphasized the Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership in the field of energy, which was signed during the visit of Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen.

The head of state also touched upon the process of negotiations on the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan with the support of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and informed the delegation that Armenia had not fulfilled its obligations under the trilateral Declaration signed on 10 November 2020.

During the conversation, the sides emphasized that the relations between the European Union and Azerbaijan were developing successfully in all fields and pointed to the importance of expanding cooperation with all the institutions of the European Union in this regard.


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