Azerbaijan is turning into an irreplaceable country in the interreligious, intercultural dialogue, said President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. President Aliyev made the remarks at an international conference titled “2017 – Year of Islamic Solidarity: Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue” at the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku Dec. 21. Azerbaijani people are very committed to their national and spiritual roots.
“These national values form the foundation of the independent Azerbaijani state. Our national values are an integral part of universal values,” President Aliyev said.
“We want the interfaith dialogue to strengthen both in the Muslim world, in Europe and generally in the world. Unfortunately, recently we see an absolutely different picture – intolerance, Islamophobia, xenophobia and anti-Semitism are growing. This is a great threat to mankind and a great scourge. The opinions and stance of religious and public figures, politicians, the general public about this issue are, of course, also important for the world community,” said the president.
“The world has repeatedly been urged from Baku, from highly respected rostrums that interfaith relations are important for every country. Many countries around the world are multinational and multi-confessional. This issue is of particular importance for civilian peace, for civilian solidarity, for every country. We, for our part, solve all issues within the country at the highest level. Meanwhile, I am sure that Azerbaijan’s experience is studied in the region and in the world,” added Ilham Aliyev.
He reminded that Azerbaijan announced the previous year as the Year of Multiculturalism.
“Multiculturalism is our state policy, and at the same time, it is our lifestyle. Representatives of all religions and nationalities living in Azerbaijan can confirm this. Multiculturalism has no alternative. The alternative is very dangerous tendencies, such as Islamophobia, xenophobia and anti-Semitism that shake the world,” said President Aliyev.
“The world sees in Azerbaijan’s example that multiculturalism lives. However, very pessimistic thoughts about multiculturalism are voiced sometimes at a very high level. Nevertheless, we all should try to maintain and strengthen these great values. Multiculturalism should become a common phenomenon for every country,” added the head of state.
“As I noted, Azerbaijan has special relations with the Islamic countries within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and Azerbaijan also plays an active role in this organization and has great support. At the same time, we have close relations with European countries. Azerbaijan has signed a strategic partnership document with nine EU member states. That is a one third of the members of the European Union,” continued the president.
“We also have very close relations with the European Union. A very serious work is being conducted on a number of issues, and at the beginning of this year, work started on a future agreement between the European Union and Azerbaijan. This once again reflects our country’s position on the issues of international agenda, as well as our policy,” he noted.
“I should also note that, of course, the state policy in this direction is being carried out and is going to be carried out. However, our policy in this direction is based on public opinion, because the Azerbaijani society, the people of Azerbaijan live with these feelings and with these thoughts. Our successful development shows that if interfaith, international relations are at the needed level, there will be both development and stability, and all the Azerbaijani citizens are optimistic about the future,” added President Aliyev.