Meeting with Speaker of National Assembly of Azerbaijan Oktay Asadov

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The parliaments of Belarus and Azerbaijan can make a big contribution to the development of bilateral relations, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with Speaker of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan Oktay Asadov on 13 October.

The head of state remarked that he is familiar with the work of MPs. “I am aware of the capabilities of parliaments. Yes, many people will say that the parliaments in Belarus and Azerbaijan do not play as big role as the parliaments do in the West. And this is good. Being a legislative branch of power, the parliament has its functions and obligations. It is a supreme lawmaking body. They should make laws to regulate the life of the society. They should also solve other issues in accordance with the Constitution,” the President stressed.

“I think that the parliaments can make a serious contribution to our relations. I, for example, listen to the opinion of the speakers and members of the parliament. I know that Ilham Aliyev is a very democratic person in this regard. If there is something useful (he is a well educated and intelligent person), he will always listen to it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked. Parliamentarians just should work in a calm manner.”

“We have our own way, have determined our goals and roles of the judicial, legislative and executive branches of power. Both in Belarus and Azerbaijan the presidents are the coordinators of activities of these branches of power,” the Belarusian leader said.

The President emphasized that Belarus and Azerbaijan cooperate in various fields. The countries maintain very warm and close relations. “We trust each other absolutely. We set up joint ventures and trade with third countries. We branch out into the markets in the south and the east together with you. We will pursue the same policy in the economy. Our trade is on the rise, our military and technical cooperation is increasingly vibrant. We do not conceal it from anyone,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.

The head of state recalled that during the CIS summit in Sochi he had an opportunity to talk to Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in various formats.

“I know that you are a peace-loving nation. Despite the problems in Karabakh, you have an absolutely peaceful position in this regard. Therefore, as I have already said to the defense minister [of Azerbaijan], there is nothing we should explain to other states,” the Belarusian leader stated.

He remarked that the sides are building their relations taking into account the interests of Belarusian and Azerbaijani people and in order to promote their wellbeing. “You can count on us in this regard. You are not an alien people for us. You are our brothers, we used to live in one country. And it does not matter that you are Muslims and we are Christians,” the President said.

The head of state asked the speaker to convey warm words to the President of Azerbaijan for cooperation on behalf of Belarus. “We will follow the course that we have determined. I am convinced that our MPs will find their place in the implementation of this roadmap,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.

The President said that a principled position of the Belarusian side envisages the enhancement of the parliamentary dimension in the CIS and other integration associations. “Our principled position envisages the enhancement of the parliamentary dimension in the CIS, the CSTO, and other associations. This is a solid position,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said that there were different interpretations of his statements about the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly in mass media. “As if Belarusians are in favor of its disintegration although we initiated the strengthening of the role of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly. If the MPs continue to work as they are working now, if they continue discussing something, it is okay, but there should be more efficiency in their work,” the President said.

In his words, it is essential to strengthen this CIS body. “We already know how to strengthen it. Because parliamentarism has been known in the world for ages. The forms and methods of parliamentary work are well-known. You can choose any and adapt it to the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly,” the head of state said.

He believes that the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly should also have a dimension for supervising the decisions of the heads of state and government. “We lack it. In this regard, it is needed to enhance contacts with agencies, including in the CIS. I think that a minister, a head of the council of foreign affairs, defense, state security could inform MPs about their plans of actions, major threats, the fulfillment of certain decisions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “I think that the parliament should have certain functions for making decisions.”

The President remarked that if there is willingness to build interaction in a more democratic manner, it makes sense to give more rights to the parliamentary organization. “If we are not ready, let’s say honestly that there are five areas of work for the parliament, and we do not need more. This should be honest and transparent. This is our position. We do not need an amorphous and inefficient organization,” the head of state said.