BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 5
We are ready to continue our cooperation with UNESCO but only if UNESCO maintains its international status. UNESCO is not a branch of any country. If this approach prevails in our relations, there will be cooperation. If not, this cooperation can be reconsidered. In any case, our intentions are pure. There must be a relationship free from double standards, Islamophobia, and discrimination, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said receiving in a video format Anar Karimov on his appointment as Minister of Culture, Trend reports.
“I want to touch upon another issue. You have represented Azerbaijan in UNESCO for many years. You are well informed about the relations between UNESCO and Azerbaijan. You have made effort to develop these relations. The decision to appoint you as Deputy Minister and now as Minister is also based on the experience you have gained. In other words, we have very productive and sincere relations with UNESCO, and I hope that these relations will be maintained. I had meetings with three general secretaries. I met the current general secretary in Baku once, but I had a number of meetings with the previous two general secretaries. They have visited Azerbaijan many times. They have played a great role in the development of UNESCO-Azerbaijan relations. Therefore, UNESCO has a lot of information about Azerbaijan's contribution to the world's cultural heritage. We have implemented various projects not only in Azerbaijan but also in some countries. In particular, we have played an active role in the restoration of both Muslim and Christian religious sites. The multicultural society in Azerbaijan should be an example for many countries. It is not me saying that, it is what the world's religious leaders are saying. Let them look at the statements of Pope Francis, who visited Baku, pay attention to the statements of the leaders of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Let them watch the speeches of other religious leaders, Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim religious leaders who have repeatedly visited Baku. Who can ever accuse us that the sites of other religions are in danger in Azerbaijan? Only novice politicians, populists, certain “politicians” who have no idea about our region but act on the orders of the Armenian lobby or at least try to do so can criticize us. Is there a basis for such claims? No! Proof of my words is several volumes of this work. Let them go and see what the Armenians have done to Muslim sites. Why hasn't UNESCO raised this issue for 30 years? We have applied to them many times. These appeals are documented in the form of letters. Two years ago, the new UNESCO leadership was asked to send a mission here, to send a mission to the occupied lands and see what is left of our historical sites. What was the response of the UNESCO leadership? They said that they did not want to politicize the issue. Okay, if you did not want to politicize the issue two years ago, why do you want to politicize it now? Let them give an answer, provide a very simple answer, a logical answer. There is no reply. I appealed to them from Zangilan. I said, open your eyes and see what the Armenians have done to our mosque. Did any reaction follow? No! This is what the Armenians have destroyed. But what have we destroyed? What have we done? We have only repaired and protected sites. So, you know, we can't just ignore such unfounded approaches,’ the head of state said.