Azerbaijan is an example of tolerance in the current complicated time of intolerance.
U.S. Ambassador to Baku Robert Cekuta made the remark at a meeting of representatives of the Office of International Religious Freedom, U.S. Department of State, Daniel L. Nadel and Stacy Bernard Davis with Chairman of the Caucasian Muslim Office Sheikh-ul-Islam Allahashukur Pashazade.
The sides exchanged views on bilateral ties, as well as tolerance and religious issues.
Pashazade highlighted state-religion relations in Azerbaijan. “The foundations of religious culture, tolerance and inter-faith dialogue were laid in Azerbaijan by national leader Heydar Aliyev. This policy is today being successfully continued by President Ilham Aliyev,” he said.
He noted that Azerbaijan is the only country that supported the construction of a synagogue and the restoration of the Catholic Church in Baku.
Pashazade also spoke of the history and consequences of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which emerged in 1988 over Armenia’s illegal territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
He also expressed hope that the churches and mosques in the occupied Azerbaijani territories will be restored.
Armenia’s ethnic hatred against Azerbaijan is not limited to the occupation of 20 percent of its internationally recognized territories; Yerevan has pursued an active and aggressive campaign against Azerbaijanis and Azerbaijani culture — ethnic cleansing, pillaging of its historical, religious and cultural monuments. Armenians have destroyed about 800 mosques in the occupied lands of Azerbaijan, according to the reports.
The U.S. delegation also applauded tolerance environment in Azerbaijan, saying they plan to study Azerbaijan`s experience.
Davis said she wants become better acquainted with the religious representatives of Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Cekuta noted at the meeting that the U.S. is interested to build reliable and strong relations with Azerbaijan.
He expressed a desire to maintain an open dialogue between the U.S. and Azerbaijan in this direction.
Head of the Azerbaijan’s Mountain Jews Community Milikh Yevdayev, head of the Catholic Church in Baku, Vladimir Fekete, head of Baku European Jews Community Gennadi Zelmanovich, Representative of Azerbaijan Eparchy Konstantin were also present at the meeting.
Since Azerbaijan’s emergence as an independent nation in 1991, the U.S.-Azerbaijan relationship has evolved into a strategic partnership based on mutual interests and common values.
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