Baku, Azerbaijan, May 5
By Elchin Mehdiyev – Trend:
Azerbaijan is an example of democratic society that ensures the rights of everyone irrespective of religion and ethnicity, First Vice Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Ziyafet Asgarov said.
He made the remarks May 5 at the panel session titled “Role of parliaments in establishing cultural bridges between civilizations” within the framework of the 4th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue in Baku.
He said that rapprochement of civilizations through intercultural dialogue is one of the most effective means of eliminating disagreements between states in the world.
“Parliamentary diplomacy can play an important role in this direction,” he noted. “The Azerbaijani Parliament uses all opportunities for the development of intercultural dialogue. The Parliament has established relations with MPs from 80 countries, carries out the necessary work to represent the traditions of Azerbaijan’s multiculturalism in the world.”
“In Azerbaijan, multiculturalism and intercultural dialogue were raised to the state level,” he added. “The representatives of different religions live in the conditions of friendship and good neighborliness in Azerbaijan.”
“At the same time, it should be noted with regret that Armenia, which has been keeping 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories under occupation for more than 25 years, passing this conflict off as the confrontation of the Christians and the Muslims, is trying to aggravate interreligious relations,” he noted. “However, all these attempts by Armenia, as always, will be futile.”
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.