Azerbaijani President visits Freedom Monument in Riga (PHOTO)
Photos added (first version was published at 18:31)
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev together with his spouse Mehriban Aliyeva and accompanied by Latvian President Valdis Zatlers and his spouse Lilita Zatlere on January 17, visited the Freedom Monument, a memorial located in the center of Riga on Brivibas bulvaris, AzerTaj state news agency reported.
A guard of honor paraded down the square. President Aliyev and the First Lady of Azerbaijan laid flowers to the monument to honor soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence. A military orchestra performed national anthems of Azerbaijan and Latvia.
Latvian President Valdis Zatlers briefed the Azerbaijani President on the important symbol of freedom, independence, and sovereignty of Latvia. He said this monument was unveiled on November 18, 1935, and Latvia was proclaimed an independent state on November 18, 1918.
Latvia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940 and the Freedom Monument was considered for demolition, but no such move was carried out. Since the re-establishment of independence the Freedom Monument has become a focal point for a variety of events. The monument remained a symbol of national independence to the general public. Latvian people gathered at the monument to commemorate the victims of the mass repressions, and to lay flowers. This rally renewed the national independence movement, which culminated three years later in the re-establishment of Latvian sovereignty.
President Aliyev had a conversation with an old resident of Riga and was photographed.
The Azerbaijani President was also briefed on the Monument restoration.
Photos - the official website of the President of Azerbaijan