President Aliyev: Baku forum - promotion of values of intercultural dialogue, multiculturalism (UPDATE)

Details added, first version posted at 10:31

Baku, Azerbaijan, April 26

By Seymur Aliyev- Trend:

The UNAOC 7th Global Forum official ceremony took place today in Baku, where the country's President Ilham Aliyev made the opening speech.

He welcomed the participants of the forum.

"It is a big honor for us to host the 7th UNAOC Global Forum. We consider it a sign of appreciation of our activity and promotion of values of intercultural dialogue, multiculturalism," said the president in his opening speech.

"I'd like to express my gratitude to the founding fathers of the alliance - Turkey and Spain, President Erdogan and former Prime Minister Zapatero, for this extremely important initiative, which now lives for more than 10 years," Ilham Aliyev said.

The president went on to add that the idea of creation of the alliance was the sign of wisdom of the politicians, President Erdogan and former Prime Minister Zapatero, supported by international community.

"I'd also like to express my gratitude to the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser for his leadership, contribution and promotion of the values of peace, solidarity and friendship," said president Aliyev.

The president went on to say that Azerbaijan is proud to have the representatives of more than 140 countries gather in Baku to address the important issues of the alliance of civilizations.

He said that Azerbaijan, for centuries, was a place where religions, cultures and civilizations met.

"We're not only a geographic bridge between East and West, but also a cultural bridge. For centuries, representatives of religions, cultures lived in peace and dignity in Azerbaijan," he said.

"Religious tolerance, multiculturalism - were always present here. There was no word - multiculturalism, but the ideas were always present," said the president.

Ilham Aliyev added that as a result of that, Azerbaijan today is a multiethnic, multiconfessional country, where representatives of all religions and ethnic groups live in dignity and peace.

"This is one of our biggest assets," he said. "And we're proud of our history. We are proud of our historical monuments, which reflect the creation of representatives of different cultures."

President reminded that one of the oldest mosques in the world, which was built in 743, is situated in Azerbaijani city of Shemakha.

"Also, one of the oldest churches in the Caucasus, the ancient church of ancient state Caucasian Albania is also situated in Azerbaijan, close to another ancient city of Sheki," he said.

The president said the Azerbaijani government invests in construction and renovation of mosques, orthodox and catholic churches, synagogues.

"This is our policy and this is our lifestyle," said the president. "For centuries, Azerbaijan is preserving this asset, regardless of political or social situation in the country."

Ilham Aliyev went on to add that Azerbaijan is relatively young as an independent country, only 25 years old, but it is ancient, with deep historical and cultural roots.

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