By Laman Ismayilova
The Azerbaijani Culture Ministry and ICESCO have discussed ways of promoting cooperation and partnership in the sphere of restoring historical sites in Nagorno Karabakh destroyed by Armenia in the past 30 years.
During the meeting, Acting Minister of Culture Anar Karimov briefed ICESCO Director-General Salim M. AlMalik of the destruction of some historical monuments in the Nagorno-Karabakh region and the attempted desecration of mosques and places of worship by Armenia.
Anar Karimov spoke about the liberation of Azerbaijan's territories which had been occupied by Armenia for about 30 years, especially the city of Shusha, which is considered to be the cradle of the Azerbaijani culture.
The two parties examined ways of joint action to restore those sites. The acting minister invited the ICESCO director-general to visit Azerbaijan for a meeting with senior officials in the country to explore cooperation aspects and tour the heritage sites that have been destroyed or have endured serious vandalism in Nagorno-Karabakh region.
He noted that as a result of the occupation of the Karabakh region, a number of cities were completely destroyed, all cultural property was looted, especially monuments and mosques of Islamic heritage.
The minister said that the Culture Ministry had prepared a special action plan to revive the cultural environment in the liberated areas, to restore monuments, museums and various cultural institutions.
Karimov stressed the importance of the long-standing cooperation between Azerbaijan and ICESCO. He noted that Azerbaijan has supported all the projects implemented by ICESCO so far in accordance with the relevant instructions of the country's leadership.
ICESCO Director-General Salim M. AlMalik fully expressed its support for Azerbaijan and the development of a joint action plan for cooperation in this field. The director-general said that ICESCO experts were ready to organize a study tour to these areas.
Talks during the meeting centred on the arrangements for the Baku Heritage Forum to be held on May 5, 2021. ICESCO will actively participate in the forum as part of its new vision and working strategy.
ICESCO's Heritage Centre is a testament to the special attention the Organization’s vision and strategy pay to heritage. The Centre trains professionals of the field within the Member States and inscribes historical sites on the Islamic World Heritage List (IWHL) following the adoption of the inscription files by the Islamic World Heritage Committee (ISWHC).
Azerbaijan has been a member of ISESCO since 1991. Established in 1991, these relations have entered into a stage of successful development after the awarding of Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva as Goodwill Ambassador of ISESCO on November 24, 2006. Aliyeva was honoured for her services in the development of education and dialogue between civilizations.
The country is closely cooperating with various organizations of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation - ISESCO, the Islamic Development Bank, the Islamic Conference of Parliamentary Union, the Islamic Conference of Youth Forum.
The Islamic World Heritage Committee, at its extraordinary meeting held at the ISESCO headquarters last year, approved the inscription the following heritage sites of Azerbaijan on the list of the Islamic World Heritage: Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah’s Palace and the Maiden Tower, the Historic Centre of Sheki with the Khan’s Palace and the Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape.
During the 40th session of the Executive Council of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) held on January 29-30, 2020, in Abu Dhabi a decision to change the name of the organization to the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) was adopted.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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