Ilham Aliyev met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
05 february 2019, 19:00
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has met with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
President Ilham Aliyev welcomed Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
The head of state then had a conversation with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said:
- Your Holiness, I sincerely welcome you to Azerbaijan! I am very pleased to see you again. First of all, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the 10th anniversary of the Patriarchal enthronement. I am very delighted that you are visiting our country soon after this momentous event. We regard this as a sign of respect for Azerbaijan. I also want to let you know that the people of Azerbaijan treat you and your activities with great respect. You are known in Azerbaijan, have visited our country several times and enjoy great respect.
Your contribution to the strengthening of security, cooperation and mutual understanding in the world is highly appreciated throughout the world, including our country. You play a crucial role in strengthening the inter-religious dialogue, in strengthening the mutual understanding between representatives of different faiths, different nations and countries. We in Azerbaijan are very closely watching your activities, your words and, of course, I would like to once again note that all your activities are aimed at serving your people. I would also like to note that your words, your wise words based on deep knowledge and a principled position play a very important role in the matter of educating young people in the spirit of traditional values.
Of course, we are very pleased that you have such a kind attitude to our country. As I have already mentioned, this is not your first visit to Azerbaijan. Your current visit will serve to strengthen our relations in the sphere of inter-religious cooperation and, in general, Russian-Azerbaijani relations which are developing very successfully and dynamically. We have a very high level of mutual trust at all levels, from presidents to ordinary citizens. I would like to say that a record number of Russians visited Azerbaijan last year – about 900,000 people. In other words, this is evidence of the fact that the relations between our people and countries is at the highest level because they feel very much at home, they come here with good intentions and are treated like native people here.
I would also note that there were six meetings between the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan last year. This is also a record figure reflecting the nature and essence of our relations and our closeness. And, of course, the visits of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin to Azerbaijan and mine to Russia have played a very important part in further strengthening our relations. I think that our relations can serve as a good example of relations between neighbors. There is a lot that binds us together historically, and today when we actively cooperate in all areas. Of course, this cooperation is of particular importance for strengthening peace in our region, in the Caucasus. Therefore, when we look at the entire spectrum of interstate relations, we see a positive dynamic, of course. And your visit today plays a special role in this context.
I would like to once again express my deep gratitude to you for visiting our country and wish you continued success in your noble cause.
Х Х Х
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said:
- Dear Mr. President, let me thank you for the opportunity to meet with you. Visiting Azerbaijan is always a spiritually and culturally important event for me. Your country has a deep and ancient history. At such a difficult civilizational crossroads, your country has absorbed the wisdom of surrounding nations and, of course, its own historical experience which was not at all easy but has undoubtedly enriched your people with remarkable culture and spirituality. When visiting Azerbaijan, I always pay attention to the high level of interreligious relations. In fact, these relations are not only demonstrative at the official level. All this has a direct bearing on the life of ordinary people. The Orthodox Christians in Azerbaijan enjoy all the opportunities enjoyed by the Muslim majority. I would like to specifically emphasize the role of Sheikh ul-Islam Pashazade, my friend who plays a very positive role in the strengthening of inter-ethnic and inter-religious peace in Azerbaijan, but also, of course, in the development of relations between the Russian Church and Muslims not only in Azerbaijan. He is the Supreme Mufti of the Caucasus, and we very much appreciate his peacemaking role and his ability, inter alia, to resolve difficult tasks in the sphere of interfaith relations.
I would like to thank you in particular for the status of the Orthodox Church in Azerbaijan. Whenever I meet with His Grace Alexander, he describes these relationships in very optimistic tones, and I know for sure that this corresponds to reality, this is the way it is. Orthodox Christians do not feel any discomfort living in Azerbaijan, they are conscientious citizens of their country and, at the same time, Orthodox people who, by religious convictions and tradition, associate themselves, of course, very much with their historic homeland Russia. And the contribution of Azerbaijan to the development of relations between our countries is always very significant. Your goodwill and your openness to the development of this relationship is very much appreciated by our people.
I would also like to emphasize the fact that many sons and daughters of your people live in Moscow and, in general, in Russia today. They play a significant role in the life of modern Russia – both in business and in the world of culture. The relations between Orthodox Christians and the Muslim community of the city of Moscow are also built very peacefully and successfully. I thank God for the fact that, in general, there are no inter-religious tensions in multinational Russia, and this is largely due, of course, to the Orthodox attitude and attitude of Orthodox Christians to other religions, but this is also due to the position of Muslims from Azerbaijan. In other words, we have a lot of positivism in our relations – between countries and between our peoples. I very much welcome the development of this relationship. I consider that in many ways these relations are important for Russia, for Azerbaijan and for our peoples. I believe that the potential of these relations is far from being exhausted. I would like to assure you from the side of the Russian Orthodox Church that myself and the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church, including the clergy located in Azerbaijan, are your reliable partners sincerely interested in further developing the relations between Azerbaijan and Russia.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to meet with you. I want to emphasize again that I am very delighted to see everything that is happening in Azerbaijan. We met here several years ago, and I must say that even a superficial glance at Baku can observe tremendous changes. Baku is becoming a beautiful city with a wonderful infrastructure. Many beautiful buildings have appeared. I would like to congratulate you on these major changes in the capital. But I also know from my good friends, including those living here, that positive changes are taking place not only in the capital but also in the whole country. Therefore, I would like to wish you the help of God, mental and physical strength, and the prosperity of the Azerbaijani people.
President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you very much.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia then met with Azerbaijani first lady Mehriban Aliyeva.