BAKU, Azerbaijan, May 23. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev sent a letter to Pope Francis on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Azerbaijan and the Holy See, Trend reports.
It is on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Holy See that, on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Azerbaijan, I cordially congratulate you.
We attach particular importance to our ties with the Holy See, and I note with pleasure that our relations, characterized by mutual esteem, have come a long way in these 30 years. The historic visits by Pope John Paul II in May 2002 and of Your Holiness in October 2016 to Azerbaijan held utmost significance for our bilateral ties and the inter-civilizational dialogue. I also recall my three official visits to the Vatican and our meetings with you in Baku and Vatican with the fondest memories.
The inauguration of the Catholic Church in Baku in 2008 was one of the milestones in the history of our relations. In the meantime, an exhibition dedicated to Azerbaijan held in 2012 in the Vatican was the first of its kind dedicated to a Muslim country. All of that is the manifestation of our cooperation and joint efforts to promote interfaith and intercultural understanding, preserve universal values, and ensure solidarity among the people.
I wish to highlight the productive cooperation between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Holy See. The Foundation had completed the restoration of a number of historical monuments of universal relevance in the Vatican and made great efforts to protect the cultural heritage. Those projects, implemented by the Foundation, reaffirm Azerbaijan’s traditional role as a country committed to multicultural values and promoting them.
You have made a tremendous personal contribution to developing the ties and expanding the dialogue between Azerbaijan and the Holy See. I offer my gratitude to you for your constant high assessment of Azerbaijan’s multiculturalism and tolerance traditions.
I believe that cooperation between Azerbaijan and the Holy See will continue to serve the cause of promoting the dialogue between civilizations and faiths and tolerance worldwide.
I seize this opportunity to wish you robust health, longevity and success in your supreme mission in pursuit of sacred aspirations," the head of state wrote.