Multiculturalism should be commonplace in every country, Azerbaijani president says
There is no alternative to multiculturalism, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said at an international conference, titled "2017- Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue", which kicked off in Baku on Dec. 21, APA reported.
He noted that there are many dangerous tendencies, such as Islamophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism, shaking the world.
“The world sees multiculturalism in Azerbaijan’s example. However, sometimes there are very negative ideas about multiculturalism. Nevertheless, we should all work to preserve and strengthen these values,” said President Aliyev, adding that multiculturalism should become commonplace in every country.
Azerbaijan, which has special relations with Islamic countries within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), also plays an active role within this organization and enjoys great support, said the head of state.
“At the same time, we have close ties with European countries. Azerbaijan signed a document on strategic partnership with 9 EU member states. That is 1/3 of the EU members. We also have strong ties with the European Union. There is serious work on a number of issues,” he said.
The president recalled that since the beginning of this year Azerbaijan and the EU have been working on a new agreement.
“This again reflects the attitude of our country to issues of the international agenda and at the same time our policy,” he said.
The head of state stressed that the Azerbaijani people are very committed to their national and spiritual roots.
"The very national values form the foundation of the independent Azerbaijan state. Our national values are an integral part of universal values," President Aliyev said, noting that Azerbaijan is turning into an irreplaceable country in the inter-religious and intercultural dialogue thanks to its geography, history and past.
“I would also like to note that the state is pursuing and will continue to pursue the policy in this direction. This policy is based on public opinion because the Azerbaijani people live with these feelings and thoughts. Our successful development shows that when inter-religious and intercultural relations are at the right level, then there will be development and stability. All citizens of Azerbaijan are optimistic about the future,” he said.
The president went on to say that another important initiative was put forward by Azerbaijan in 2008.
"As you know, Azerbaijan is also a member of the Council of Europe. When we organized a meeting of ministers of culture of member states of the Council of Europe we decided to invite ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries. The ministers of the two organizations met in Baku for the first time. A very fruitful meeting was held and a very sincere exchange of views was conducted. We decided that this initiative should be continued,” said President Aliyev. “Next year Azerbaijan hosted an event of ministers of culture of the OIC member countries and invited the ministers of the Council of Europe countries. This initiative later was called Baku Process.”
He announced that the 10th anniversary of Baku Process will be celebrated next year.
“Today the Baku process is developing. Next year we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Baku Process which is highly appreciated by all respected international organizations, especially by the UN,” said President Aliyev, calling the Baku Process ‘a rare international platform for the development of relations between the Council of Europe and OIC.
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