June 22, 2012

A ceremony of signing a bilateral agreement between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Vatican

A bilateral agreement was signed between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and  Vatican on restoration of Roman catacombs, June 22. The document was signed by First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation Mehriban Aliyeva and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravazi, the Minister of Culture of Vatican and chairman of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology.

First Lady of Azerbaijan, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation addressed the ceremony.

Speech by Mrs. Mehriban Aliyeva:

- Your Excellency Cardinal Ravazi.

Respected Ladies and Gentlemen!

First of all, I would like to greet you from the bottom of my heart and express my gratitude for being again in this ancient place.

Thank you for endearing words said about the activity of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and personally my activity.

We are going to mark the 20th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between our states. Very close and multilateral relations have been built between our states recent years. I’m hopeful this efficient and fruitful cooperation will continue in future.

Today’s ceremony is just another step made in this direction. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation will take part in the restoration of the Sacred Marcellino and Pietro catacombs that are of great importance not only in the Vatican and the Christian world, but also in the whole culture of the world, and relate to the universal cultural heritage. Thank you for information about the catacombs you have provided here today and, of course, I’ll with great pleasure take part in their inauguration after the restoration. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation attaches great importance to protection of cultural and historical heritage, and we have been implementing this kind of projects both in Azerbaijan, and also in other countries. I’m very pleased that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation will make its contribution to the restoration of this cultural monuments, a universal wealth.

Dear Friends, in all periods, regardless of public and political structure, people with different languages, beliefs have lived in conditions of peace, tranquillity and mutual respect as a family. Today a multi-confessional and multinational Azerbaijan is again loyal to these traditions, and this is one of our riches. While visiting our country in 2002, Pope John Paul 2nd  named Azerbaijan a door between the East and the West,  and sample of tolerance. It is no coincidence that recent years large international meetings and forums on the subject of dialogue among cultures and civilizations are held  in our country. Essential events hosted by our capital – summit of world religious leaders in 2010, the World Intercultural Dialogue Forum and the First Baku International Humanitarian Forum in 2011 - are valued as important steps in this sphere.

The Second Baku International Humanitarian Forum will be held in October of this year in our capital. Taking this opportunity, I invite you to this event. Such meetings, such events highlight the importance of dialogue, tolerance and mutual respect, bringing world leaders, public persons, people and nations together on an international arena.

Dear Friends, in conclusion I would like to express my gratitude for being among you. I’m very pleased to see such a project is commencing today. I would like to thank all our friends, who have made contribution to building friendly relations between our states, especially Cardinal Ravazi. I once more invite you to Azerbaijan and wish you sound health and prosperity. Thank you. 

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