The visit of Azerbaijan’s First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva to Italy further cements ties between Azerbaijan and Italy, Rob Sobhani, director general of the Caspian Group Holdings, told Trend.
Azerbaijan’s First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva last week was on an official visit to Rome, where she took part in the conference on “The 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic and relations of strategic partnership between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Italian Republic”, a ceremony to inaugurate St. Sebastian catacombs, which were restored by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and held a number of important meetings.
Sobhani said that this visit lays a better, stronger and more long-term foundation for cultural exchanges, economic relations and diplomatic ties between Azerbaijan and Italy.
Mehriban Aliyeva’s visit is important because getting Italy - a major diplomatic nation - to be more active as it concerns the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is critical, he added.
“In my opinion the major highlights were meeting with the President of the Italian Senate and commemorating the centenary of Azerbaijan's Democratic Republic,” Sobhani said. “These two issues are related because they portray Azerbaijan as a secular, progressive, forward thinking Muslim nation that can be a model for other Muslim countries.”
In addition, Italy is one of Europe's largest economies and has expertise in many areas such as the energy sector, fashion industry, aviation and environment, he added.
“The transfer of know-how in these sectors to Azerbaijan as a result of the First Lady's visit to Italy can be of enormous benefit to the citizens of Azerbaijan,” he said. “Imagine Azerbaijan's leading designers partnering with brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo or Gucci.”
He further noted that the role of women in Azerbaijan’s history and cultural development is on the shoulders of Mehriban Aliyeva and she is the best ambassador for Azerbaijan on the global arena.
When she meets with her Italian counterparts, Mehriban Aliyeva is representing all Azerbaijani women and her modern, progressive, worldly and caring demeanor contributes to Azerbaijan's global image as a dynamic country, he added.
“Also by emphasizing the rich history of Azerbaijan through commemoration of the centenary of the Democratic Republic, Mehriban Aliyeva is telling the world: "We are a country with a rich history and the first Muslim country to have fought for and won democracy for its citizens."
"This is very important for Azerbaijan’s image,” Sobhani said.
Speaking about the restoration of the holy catacombs in Rome by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Sobhani said that this caring, kind and timely act of philanthropy by Mehriban Aliyeva places Azerbaijan at the center of the global efforts to restore historic sites.
“It shows that Azerbaijan is not only looking forward but cares about the past - the past of our common heritage and historic sites,” he noted. “It demonstrates that the First Lady of Azerbaijan is a citizen of the world and that the country she represents - Azerbaijan - is a partner in restoring the world’s most important historic sites.”
Italy benefits from Mehriban Aliyeva’s leadership of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and preserves historic sites that need attention in Italy, he said, adding that this can become a global contribution by Azerbaijan for preservation of culture.
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