Details added (first version posted on 15:28)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 2
By Seymur Aliyev - Trend:
A multi-faith, multi-ethnic society has been formed in Azerbaijan throughout the centuries, it still exists, and in the years of independence, these positive tendencies have enhanced even more, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said at the 4th Baku International Humanitarian Forum on Oct. 2.
Welcoming the participants of the forum, the president said about 500 guests from over 60 countries are taking part in the event.
"The forum is a significant event," President Aliyev said. "This has already become a wonderful tradition. The forum is being held for the fourth time, which testifies to the great need for such discussions. The processes taking place in the world, in some cases cause concern, and demand attracting even more attention to humanitarian sphere."
Azerbaijani president expressed confidence that discussions, exchange of views, which are to be held during the forum, will serve to deepening of humanitarian cooperation.
"In Azerbaijan we pay great attention to this," the president said. "It is no coincidence that this forum is being held in Azerbaijan. I can note that today the forum has a unique role in discussing and analysing the world's humanitarian problems."
The president said the interest towards the forum is constantly growing and it has already turned into an important format on the international arena.
"We in Azerbaijan have always paid great attention to humanitarian aspects for development of ties between countries, because this is dictated by our historical past and our culture," President Aliyev said.
He noted that all peoples in Azerbaijan live in friendship and good neighbourliness, as one family.
"Azerbaijan has never had any religious, ethnic conflicts or misunderstandings, and this is a great wealth of the country, as each state's might is of course determined by a number of factors - political opportunities, economic power, as well as the atmosphere, climate and feelings of solidarity within the society," President Aliyev said.
"I think that from this point of view Azerbaijan's experience is very positive, and with our work, we make positive contribution to the processes going on in the world," he said.
The president said that multiculturalism is a way of life in Azerbaijan.
"This is indeed a relatively new term," he added. "But throughout the centuries Azerbaijan has had multicultural societies, and the friendship and solidarity among peoples is a good example of this.
"Today, with our initiative we try to provide a positive impact on processes taking place in the region and the world," the president said.
He went on to add that it is no coincidence that a number of initiatives taken by Azerbaijan, have already been implemented, and new opportunities have emerged around these initiatives.
The president said Azerbaijan invited the culture ministers of member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to the Council of Europe culture ministers meeting, held in Baku in 2008, adding that a joint meeting was held.
"This happened for the first time in history," he said. "Azerbaijan undertook this initiative because it is a member of both the Council of Europe and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation."
"In 2009, at a meeting of culture ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation member-states in Baku, we invited the culture ministers of the Council of Europe member-states. This initiative was called the 'Baku Process'. Today, the 'Baku Process' is alive and developing," Aliyev said.
The Azerbaijani president noted that Baku hosted forums on intercivilizational dialogue.
"A summit of world religious leaders was held at our initiative a few years ago," he said. "That is the essence of the Baku International Humanitarian Forum."
The president said he is sure that the prominent state and public figures, scientists, specialists, and experts participating in the forum, will share their interesting opinions in the days to come.
"Together we will make contribution to the humanitarian sphere. We will further make efforts to deepen the humanitarian cooperation," President Aliyev said.
"It is not a secret that the forum will become an annual event," President Aliyev said. "Thus, this format will continue to exist."
The president further said that Azerbaijan's initiatives in the field of culture also bring results, as the country has been conducting international events, festivals and contests.
"Azerbaijan has a lot of ancient monuments of history, and the country's historic monuments are being restored. This is our national property," he said. "The state restores the country's religious monuments, and new monuments are being erected as well."
The president further said that Orthodox, Catholic churches and synagogues were overhauled in Azerbaijan with the state support.
"Once again I would like to say that a multicultural society, an inter-religious dialogue, friendship and fraternal relations between peoples strengthen our country because this creates a wonderful atmosphere in the society," President Aliyev said. "I would like to say that this is the state policy and a public order. I think that we will successfully develop in this direction. I must also say that the experience gained in this area may be of interest for other countries."