Azerbaijan is interested in the launch of regular flights to Baku, Ganja and Nakhchivan cities from various cities of Iran, and this will promote the development of tourism both in Iran and Azerbaijan, the country’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Abulfas Garayev said.
He made the remarks July 4 in Tehran at a meeting with Iranian vice president, Head of Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization Zahra Ahmadipour.
Garayev is on a visit to Tehran in connection with the Days of Azerbaijani Culture in Iran (July 3-9).
The minister stressed that this year, some 65,000 Iranian tourists visited Azerbaijan during the Novruz, the country’s national spring holiday, and they enjoyed their time in Azerbaijan, since both peoples have similar national traditions and cuisine.
Garayev added that it is necessary to create joint travel companies that will operate in Azerbaijan and Iran.
He recalled that in accordance with the decision made at the 6th Conference of culture ministers of member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) held in Baku in 2009, the city of Nakhchivan was declared the “Capital of Islamic Culture” in 2018, and the organizing committee for holding events in 2018 was established by the order of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
The first meeting of the organizing committee was held in November 2016 in Nakhchivan, where the action plan, which included performances by creative groups and other interesting programs, was approved, Garayev noted.
“The development of tourism is the best way to further strengthen friendship,” Garayev said, inviting Iranian Vice President Zahra Ahmadipour to pay an official visit to Azerbaijan.
Also during the meeting, the Azerbaijani minister touched upon the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, stressing that the Armenians carried out cultural genocide against the Azerbaijani heritage in the occupied territories, having destroyed thousands of historical monuments, including mosques.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.
In turn, Zahra Ahmadipour noted that Iran supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile, she also said that handcrafts industry is developing in Iran and causes great interest among tourists.
At the meeting it was noted that the proximity of the Azerbaijani and Iranian peoples requires even greater strengthening of friendship and good-neighborliness.
The sides noted that the peoples of the two countries historically had cultural ties, which at the present stage must be developed and passed on to future generations, so that the friendship of Iran and Azerbaijan would be eternal.
The issues of organizing a joint exhibition of handcrafts, prospects for mutual relations were also discussed at the meeting with the participation of Azerbaijani Ambassador to Iran Bunyad Huseynov and Chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan Tourism Association Nahid Bagirov.