Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom has said her country attaches particular importance to studying Azerbaijan`s experience in tackling problems of refugees.
“Sweden ranks first in Europe for the number of refugees per capita. Majority of refugees who seek refuge in the country are children without parents. Dealing with their problems in education, healthcare and other areas creates some challenges. That’s why Azerbaijan’s experience in this field is very important for us,” she told Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister, Chairman of the State Committee for Refugees and IDPs Ali Hasanov as they met on the second day of her visit to Baku. “We are curious how Azerbaijan managed to have coped with those problems. We have a lot to learn from you in this area,” she said.
Deputy Prime Minister highlighted the causes and consequences of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. “As a result of the military aggression of the Armenian armed forces 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories were occupied. Having nearly 10 million population, Azerbaijan has 1.2 million refugees and IDPs.” “UN Security Council adopted four resolutions on the settlement of the conflict. OSCE, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Organization of Islamic Cooperation also adopted resolutions on the dispute. However, despite all this the conflict has not been solved for 24 years. This is unfair.”
Hasanov said that today Azerbaijan is an open and tolerant country. “Representatives of all the nations and religions are living peacefully, as a single family here. They have their own places of worship. There are churches, synagogues in Baku. Even an Armenian church is preserved. During the last five years the country has hosted international religious and intercultural conferences. Religious leaders of 160 countries have attended these events. That is why President Ilham Aliyev announced 2016 the year of multiculturalism in Azerbaijan.”
“Despite the fact that our lands are occupied, Azerbaijan is the most stable and safe country in the CIS region. Today Azerbaijan is recognized as a country that is hosting important international events addressing global problems. The 7th Global Forum of UN Alliance of Civilizations will soon be held in the country. Azerbaijan also hosted such high-profile events like Eurovision song contest and the first European Games.”
Touching upon Azerbaijani-Swedish relations, the Deputy Prime Minister noted that it is “very important to develop these ties”. “And this is possible only through partnership. At the same time, high level reciprocal visits will stimulate the progress of these relations.” Hasanov stressed the importance of increasing the Swedish society`s awareness of Azerbaijan`s realities.