Baku, Azerbaijan, June 2
Azerbaijani First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva has today met Pope Francis as part of her visit to Italy.
Azerbaijani First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva hailed the relations between Azerbaijan and the Vatican, particularly pointing to the expansion of the bilateral cooperation in preserving the cultural heritage.
The First Lady provided an insight into the Heydar Aliyev Foundation's projects both in Azerbaijan and abroad.
Mehriban Aliyeva said the Heydar Aliyev Foundation had carried out considerable work in a number of areas, including social and humanitarian ones.
Mehriban Aliyeva highlighted what had been done to improve the social conditions of the Azerbaijanis who became IDPs and refugees as a result of the Armenian military aggression.
The First Lady recalled the historical visit of Pope John Paul II to Azerbaijan in 2002, noting the visit contributed to developing the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva invited Pope Francis to visit the country.
Pope Francis accepted the invitation of Mehriban Aliyeva. He noted he was well aware of the multifaceted activities of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation.
He lauded the personal initiative and role of Mehriban Aliyeva in projects implemented by the Foundation.
Pope Francis said the Vatican was interested in expanding bilateral ties with Azerbaijan, and praised the activities of Mehriban Aliyeva on this front.
Pope Francis hailed the contribution of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation to restoring the Holy Roman catacombs.
Azerbaijani First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva noted such projects would be continued, adding she would try her best to expand the scope of the Foundation`s activities in the Vatican.
The Azerbaijani First Lady and Pope Francis exchanged keepsakes.