September 12, 2012

Opening of the Azerbaijani-Russian Friendship Bridge in Astrakhan

A solemn opening ceremony of the Azerbaijani-Russian Friendship Bridge was held in Astrakhan, September 12. Vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Leyla Aliyeva attended the opening ceremony.

Leyla Aliyeva addressed the ceremony.

Address by Leyla Aliyeva:

- Dear Guests!

Dear Friends!

First of all, I would like to thank for the hospitality on the Astrakhani soil. I’m very glad to be here today for the first time and for having the opportunity to personally acquaint myself with projects being implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in the Russian Federation. I would like to thank the management of Astrakhan for pleasing words and the contribution made to the development of relations between Azerbaijan and Russia.

Relations between our countries are based on mutual respect, trust and transparency. Azerbaijan has always treated the rich Russian culture and language with great respect. Today, the Russian language is taught in our schools in full volume, and the Baku Slavic University, the Russian Dramatic Theatre, the Russian Cultural Centre, the Baku Branch of the Y.Lomonosov Moscow State University  are functioning in Azerbaijan. I’m convinced that relations between our countries will only develop and become stronger. Azerbaijan has always been a home to various cultures and civilizations, and people of different nations and religions have lived in peace. Today, one can see a Muslim mosque, a Catholic church, an Orthodox church, synagogue in Baku, and all nations are living as a single big family. This is our richness.  Azerbaijan has been developing with rapid pace, and new roads, buildings, bridges constructed, all historical monuments and museums restored. More than 70% of the Southern Caucasian economy falls on Azerbaijan’s share. All large-scale projects are carried out with participation of our country. All these are carried out despite 20% of our territory being under occupation and the country having about 1 million refugees and  internally displaced people having no chance to return to their homes.

Our country has been paying serious attention to the development of science, culture, technology, education, public health and sport. I’m very proud the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, which was established in 2004 in memory of national leader Heydar Aliyev, has been taking part in all these projects. Activity of the Foundation cover almost all areas. During its activity, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation has won the support and confidence of all strata of the population, and has been paying special attention to development of education. Today we opened school No.11 named after Heydar Aliyev constructed by the Foundation in Astrakhan. The Foundation has so far built and renovated up to 400 schools. And each school has computer rooms provided with the latest technology. In Azerbaijan, the Foundation is engaged both in charity activity, and also provides aid to children suffering diabetes. The Foundation has built in Azerbaijan one of the largest thalassemia centres in the region. The Foundation has been building children’s homes and boarding schools. Of course, the Foundation has been showing great attention to the promotion of Azerbaijan’s rich culture and ancient history beyond its boundaries. Last year the Foundation held a number of events devoted to the 20th year of regain by Azerbaijan of its independence. Regular evenings of culture, conferences, concerts and exhibitions are held. One of the last events held by the Foundation in cooperation with Baku magazine was a modern Azerbaijani art exhibition called “Fly to Baku”. This exhibition was also demonstrated in London and Paris with great success. We have planned to organize similar exhibition in Berlin, Rome, New York and, of course, in Moscow in the near future.

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has been treating the world culture and history with great respect. The Foundation has funded restoration of a number of architectural monuments, historical buildings and museums in various countries around the globe. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation has built a new school in Pakistan completely destroyed after the earthquake, and constructed a number of education hotbeds in various countries.

One of the main directions of the Foundation’s activity is protection of the environment. Therefore, the Heydar Aliyev Foundation established a year ago a new international movement called “IDEA”. Primary objective of IDEA is to protect our planet and raise awareness of the youth about the environmental problems. During the one year of its existence, IDEA has implemented a serious of successful projects. Among them may be cited planting trees, making bird nests, as well as holding seminars, conferences and photo-exhibitions. Personally for me, protection of endangered animals is very important.  For this reason, IDEA has made a list consisting of five animals – eagle, bear, wolf, Caucasian leopard and gazelle. I know that the white cuckoo’s population is on the brink of extinction. Therefore, IDEA has planned to organize competitions in Astrakhan schools in October of this year on the subject of this bird’s protection. Winners of the competition will have a chance to visit and to get acquainted with our country.

Dear Friends! As you see, we have a lot of interesting plans, projects and ideas. Today we have gathered here to open the Russian and Azerbaijani Friendship Bridge build by support from the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. I would like to thank you for this opportunity. I’m confident this is only the beginning. We are going to have more projects in future and our relations will only develop and be strengthened.

Thank you once more for coming here and for your attention. I wish you all sound health and happiness, my best wishes to you.

Thank you very much!

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