Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Group of Friends Annual Ministerial Meeting

Statement by Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan, at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Group of Friends Annual Ministerial Meeting dedicated to the theme of “New and Emerging Ideological Threats to Global Peace and Co-Existence”

New York, September 26, 2014

Mr Chairman, Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the UN Alliance of Civilizations for organizing this important meeting, which is taking place while the world is still witnessing serious threats and challenges to peace, security and sustainable development. The theme, "New and Emerging Ideological Threats to Global Peace and Co-Existence", is timely in terms of providing an opportunity for taking stock of the progress achieved and identifying new ways of advancing our ambitious agenda.

It is obvious that over the past years the UNAOC has made a valuable contribution to the strengthening and promotion of dialogue among different civilisations. In this respect we particularly appreciate the tireless efforts deployed by H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN High Representative, and we are confident that his able leadership will allow UNAOC to achieve even greater strides.

We believe that the dialogue of civilizations is the key for ensuring peace, security and sustainable development. Fostering dialogue among civilizations is crucial to build tolerance and deepen mutual understanding among peoples and countries, particularly during the existing misperceptions.

Azerbaijan has always called for continuous fight against defamation of religions and incitement to religious hatred. Misperceptions about Islam and Muslims have become the most persistent and virulent sources of the phenomenon of Islamophobia, resulting in prejudicial practices against Muslims without any distinction. It is therefore critical to persistently stress the importance of respect and understanding for religious and cultural diversity throughout the world. It is also important that we act in a proactive way, rather than just responding to such manifestations.

Azerbaijan enjoys membership of both the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and European institutions. Being a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country Azerbaijan seeks to contribute to the dialogue of civilizations through some important initiatives and activities serving a better understanding between different cultures and religions.

As one of the active members of the Group of Friends Azerbaijan is fully committed to the principles of the UNAOC, its goals, aims and its approaches to the global challenges.

Over the last years, Azerbaijan hosted a number of high-caliber international events, including I and II World Humanitarian Forums. Those remarkable forums were realized in cooperation with UN Alliance of Civilizations, a reliable partner that remains at the frontline of the intercultural challenges.

Those events complemented a number of events, such as International Summit on Interfaith Dialogue, World Summit of Religious Leaders, Youth for Alliance of Civilizations and many others that matured our experience in this fora. Forthcoming First European Games in 2015 and Islamic Solidarity Games in 2017 are the testimonies to this.

In order to promote understanding, dialogue and reconciliation among cultures and different continents through concrete projects “Action Plan on Joint Activities” signed between the Government of Azerbaijan and the UNAOC in August 2014 in Bali.

With the intention to further contribute to the dialogue among civilizations, the Government of Azerbaijan has offered to host the Seventh UN Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum in Baku in 2016. I have honour to count on your valuable support and look forward to welcoming you in Azerbaijan.

Thank you.

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