"Azerbaijan’s devotion to the values and ideals of UNESCO goes beyond its national borders. In the last ten years, our activity on the preservation of the World Cultural Heritage has covered wide geography," First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva said during her speech at the opening ceremony of the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
Mehriban Aliyeva emphasized that wars and military conflicts have always represented a serious threat to the cultural heritage of humanity. "As a result of military aggression and gross violation of international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, Armenia continues to occupy today almost 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. One million Azerbaijanis have become refugees or internally displaced persons. Hundreds of historical, architectural monuments, museums, mosques, and other religious sights have been destroyed or seriously damaged. This is why Azerbaijan is very much interested in the effective implementation of relevant international conventions on the protection of cultural property. I believe that there is still much to do in this field and UNESCO has an important role to fulfill in this regard. Dear friends, cultural heritage offers us a shared sense of belonging to the great story of humanity. It is our strong belief that the seeds of culture, of peace, maybe cultivated only through dialogue and mutual respect. I would like to mention here the Baku process initiated by Azerbaijan which became a truly global platform for promoting intercultural and interreligious dialogue. Launched back in 2008, in Baku, the international conference for the first time brought around one table ministers of culture of member states of Council of Europe with their colleagues from OIC states to start a dialogue on issues of common concern."
First Vice-President of the Republic of Azerbaijan emphasized that last month Azerbaijan hosted 5th World Forum on International Dialogue within the Baku process. "We are pleased that UNESCO is our key partner in this major initiative and I thank you Madame Director-General for your important personal support. Wishing every success to the work of this meeting I would like in conclusion to quote great Azerbaijani architect and philosopher of the 20th century Memar Ajami who said: “We will go but the wind will blow, we will pass away but heritage will live on.”