President Ilham Aliyev: “Azerbaijan is one of the countries able to unite the west and the east, two civilizations through holding intercultural dialogues”

 President Ilham Aliyev: “Azerbaijan is one of the countries able to unite the west and the east, two civilizations through holding intercultural dialogues”
# 07 April 2011 09:21 (UTC +04:00)
President said Azerbaijan hosted such event not for the first time, APA reports. “Several events dedicated to the intercultural dialogue have been held in Azerbaijan since 2008. One of these events, related to the religious confessions, was held last year. This tradition is expected to be continued. This autumn Baku will host the 1st Humanitarian Forum”.

Reminding the Azerbaijan’s membership at the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the head of state said Baku was declared the Islamic Culture Capital last year and series of cultural events were held in the framework of this event.

Ilham Aliyev said there were historic-cultural roots of holding such events in Azerbaijan: “All people in Azerbaijan live like a family. There was no national and religious confrontation and misunderstanding here. The power of every society is related to its religious and national diversity. As the Azerbaijani state, we prefer to secure national and religious tolerance in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is among the countries, which can be an example in this format. Representatives of all ethnic groups and religious communities are living in equal conditions here. There are all conditions for their praying. Those who visit Azerbaijan can confirm it”.

President said that Azerbaijan wants this practice to spread all over the world, wants people to live together without undergoing discrimination. The head of state noted that in this respect it is of great importance to hold such forums in Azerbaijan.

Ilham Aliyev said Azerbaijan is a part of the Islamic world.
“We are Muslims, Azerbaijan is a predominantly Muslim country. We are committed to our national and moral values, we attach great importance to them. Even in the period before the independence, Azerbaijan had preserved its religious and national values,” he said.

Azerbaijani President said Azerbaijan’s ancient city of Nakhchivan will be likely declared the capital of Islamic culture in 2018.
“Among the Muslim countries Azerbaijan has gained a number of achievements. For the first time in the East Azerbaijani women gained the right to vote, Azerbaijan is the first country to recognize the right to vote. The first opera of the East was composed in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has also been a pioneer of a number of cultural and political events. Azerbaijan is also the member of the Council of Europe. This shows that Azerbaijan is one of the countries able to unite the west and the east, two civilizations through holding intercultural dialogues. Therefore, our holding such events should be regarded as natural,” he said.

The head of state noted that, nevertheless, Azerbaijan had some problems as well: “Azerbaijan is a state, which recently gained independence. We have Nagorno Karabakh problem, our country suffer from ethnic cleansing. Azerbaijan has around 1 mln refugees and IDPs, a part of our territories recognized by the international community are still under the occupation”.

Reminding the existence of UN Security Council resolutions, decisions of the CoE, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) related to the occupied territories, the President said that notwithstanding all these, Azerbaijani territories are still kept under the occupation, more than 1 mln people live with the status of refugee and internationally displaced person: “For all that, we hope that the conflict will be solved in a peaceful way, via the mediation of international organizations, within the framework of international law norms. That is why, we continue the negotiations”.

The head of state said in the first years of independence Azerbaijan faced territorial problem, Karabakh conflict, there was civil confrontation in the country.
“In the first years of Azerbaijan’s independence, attempts were made for separation, there were people, armed groups against independence, Azerbaijan saw economic recession. There were very serious economic problems in Azerbaijan in those years. But we could solve all these problems. Now Azerbaijan is an economically developed country. We also have political independence. Azerbaijan is a good model. There is stability in Azerbaijan, the country is developing rapidly.”

Speaking about the development indicators of Azerbaijan, the head of state reminded that 900 000 working places had been opened, GDP had increased, poverty rate had sharply decreased in the country. President Aliyev said that along with economic development, political stability, he always paid attention to national and religious relations. He said that each society should have right religious and national policy. The head of state said that main reason of the existence of religious and national tolerance in Azerbaijan was existence of corresponding historical roots: “For many centuries, we have lived without facing any problem from religious and national aspect. And current policy pursed by Azerbaijan corresponds it. We pursue policy for national and religious endurance, national unity. We want this practice to spread. We think that endurance must be increased in the world. The discussions must be conducted in this direction that without regard to religion and nationality, what we must do for creation quiet, warless life for nations? Azerbaijan supports this way, that is why, we will always work for organizing such forums. We would like such forums to be held traditionally”.

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