By Laman Ismayilova
ICESCO proposes to declare Azerbaijan’s Shusha as the capital of Islamic world. The initiative was announced at the press conference between ICESCO Director General Salim AlMalik and the Azerbaijan Culture Minister Anar Karimov.
“We have proposed to move ICESCO regional center to Shusha in the future. The opening of a regional office in Baku is appropriate for the current situation, but after the city of Shusha is restored and life returns to normal, the proposal to move the ICESCO regional office to Shusha may be realized," ICESCO Director General said.
Speaking at a press conference, the Culture Minister Anar Karimov regarded the visit of the ICESCO delegation to Azerbaijan as an important event in the country's life. He emphasized that partnership with ICESCO has expanded since the election of First Vice-President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva as Goodwill Ambassador to the organization.
"Over the past time, Azerbaijan has implemented numerous international projects with ICESCO. Baku (2009) and Nakhchivan (2018) were named the Capital of Islamic Culture. Azerbaijan's capital hosted the meeting of ICESCO Culture Ministers in 2009. The 12th General Conference and the 36th meeting of the Executive Board of ICESCO were held as well," the Minister said.
"Moreover, ICESCO has implemented numerous projects and events in different directions. ICESCO is one of the main partners of the Baku Process initiated by President Ilham Aliyev and adopted by the United Nations. The organization has been an official partner in the 5th World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue held in 2011," he added.
Anar Karimov touched upon Azerbaijan's territories liberated from Armenian occupation after 30 years.
The Culture Minister stressed the importance of Shusha city, which is considered the cradle of Azerbaijani culture.
As a result of the Armenian occupation, a number of cities were completely destroyed, all cultural property was looted, historical monuments and cultural institutions were destroyed, especially monuments and mosques of Islamic heritage.
The Minister said that an inventory was carried out in the liberated territories, adding that information had been obtained in 6 regions.
According to the information to date, about 399 cultural institutions have been found in those areas. At the same time, 372 historical and cultural monuments have been identified. Moreover, 195 of them are located in Shusha.
"Currently, the Culture Ministry is preparing a road map. Both local and foreign experts are expected to be involved in this process. As for the restoration of monuments, we have already made a classification. Of course, first of all, we must start with the monuments of world importance. Restoration work will begin in Shusha. As you know, the city of Shusha has been cleared of mines. The city has been declared Azerbaijan's cultural capital. The monuments in Agdam, Fuzuli and other regions will be restored as well," said the minister.
“Apart from ethnic cleansing, Armenians also carried out cultural cleansing in the occupied territories. This is a crime against humanity. We believe that ICESCO will prepare a report and send a technical staff. We plan to open a regional center of the organization this year. The center will contribute to the development of relations between Azerbaijan and ICESCO as well as regional countries," he added.
Karimov said that ICESCO will hold events in this regard within the framework of declaring 2021 the "Year of Nizami Ganjavi" in Azerbaijan. The events will play an important role in conveying Nizami Ganjavi's contribution to the Islamic world to the international community.
ICESCO Director General Salim AlMalik congratulated the people of Azerbaijan on the historic victory.
"Every country that is a member of our organization is important to us. This year we celebrate the victory of our member country Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a friendly and hospitable country. We have come here not only to support and celebrate the Victory, but also to see what is happening in the liberated lands. During our visit, we saw the destruction of Azerbaijan's centuries-old cultural heritage. It is a crime against humanity. We visited Fuzuli, where libraries, schools, cemeteries and even roads were destroyed. During our visit to Aghdam, we only witnessed the remains of the walls of destroyed buildings. We went to the mosque, theater building as well. Only the walls of these monuments remain undestroyed. Those who committed it should take responsibility for their actions," said ICESCO general.
"ICESCO technical mission will visit Azerbaijan soon. The technical mission will arrive in the liberated areas by the end of February. The team will be formed after the return of the ICESCO delegation. The team will include member countries as well as non-member states. At the end of next week, we will appoint experts to organize a visit of the technical mission," he added.
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