Her Excellency Ms Sahiba Gafarova, Chairperson of the Milli Majlis,
Esteemed Members of the House

We thank you for your invite to join today's special session of the Milli Majlis, as well as all the people of Azerbaijan in celebrating the remarkable legacy of your leader and founding father of a free Azerbaijan, His Excellency Heydar Aliyev. We also thank you for your recent visit to our country earlier this year, to grace the occasion of our State of the Nation Address and the official opening of this year’s Parliamentary session.

Like Nelson Mandela in our country, the history and human triumph of the people of Azerbaijan, cannot be written or be fully complete without the acknowledgement of the immense role played by Heydar Aliyev, and the other compatriots of his generation. Like our beloved Madiba, has earned global iconic recognition as a leader who led his people through a complex historical and political journey towards the attainment of freedom and independence for his country.

Madam Chairperson,
Today, we celebrate him, not only as a former President of this country, but recognise his legacy as the founder of the independent state of Azerbaijan.

Today, the legacy left by Heydar Aliyev, that of a modern stable democracy with sustained economic development, can now also be used to benefit other nations of the world through various cooperation initiatives. As the world experiences turmoil and war, many nations have been affected negatively with the resultant food insecurity, rising cost of living and chronic energy shortages.

For us in South Africa, we believe that the specific foresight of Heydar Aliyev, in consolidating the oil and gas resource strategies as part of Azerbaijan’s economic transformation, can now benefit us a great deal as we face the biggest power crisis and a threat to our economy, in history.

Although it must be acknowledge that Azerbaijan has already established partnerships with several African countries, including South Africa, to promote energy cooperation and technology transfer, we believe that the situation in South Africa calls for extra ordinary urgency in terms of infrastructure roll out. We are calling for both governments to leverage the current cooperation initiatives to implement an urgent rescue plan with specific targets to enhance South Africa’s generation capacity in the short to medium term.

We believe that Azerbaijan's efforts to support African nations in providing energy resources, supporting sustainable energy development, and promoting energy cooperation, will improve access to affordable and reliable energy in the continent and in South Africa specifically.

Our own cooperation efforts as the Parliaments of the two countries can help to place this matter on the Agenda for our two countries.

In the same vein, allow me to also express our gratitude to you and your country for the work that you have done towards the establishment of the Parliamentary Network of the Non-Aligned Movement. Your country has played an important role both during the time when you hosted the NAM Heads of States Summit in 2019, when the decision to establish the Network was made, and now in your role as the first Chairperson of our Network.
We have an important journey to walk in this regard as we strive for a world that is truly just, peaceful and safe.

We thank you once more for your invite and your hospitality to these important events in your country. On behalf of all South Africans, we also celebrate with you and your people, the declaration of this year 2023, as "the year of Heydar Aliyev". Accordingly, we commemorate with you this, the 100th anniversary of his birth. I thank you.