The speech of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev at the meeting with religious compatriots in Juma Mosque - Tbilisi, March 9, 1996.

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Dear Sisters and Brothers! Dear Friends!

As the  President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I pay an official visit  with the invitation of  the president of the Republic of Georgia. For  the last two days we have been surrounded  by Georgian  hospitality, and  we take neccessary  measures to strengthen and develop friendly  relations between our nations and countries.

I have come here after  visiting graves of great Azerbaijani  personalities Mirza Fatali Akhundov, Mirza Shafi Vazeh, Fatali Khan Khoysky, and attended the opening ceremony of the monument over the grave of the  great person, the Prime Minister of the first Democratic Republic of  Azerbaijan, Fatali Khan Khoysky.

This is  a  Mosque of Azerbaijani Muslims. This is a ‘House of God’, and is sacred. To come to a  mosque,  to worship  and fulfill God’s orders is duty of every Muslim. I am very pleased that  Muslims have  such  a place for worshiping, and their own mosque in Tbilisi in Georgia. Every azberbaijani and every Muslim come, worship, pray and fulfill their Islamic duties in this mosque. This is a big gift. On  other hand it shows Georgian people’s pleasant attitude to Azerbaijani nation and to all nations. This shows Georgian  people’s very valuable attitudes to  other religions. I appreciate it very much.

You, Azerbaijanis living in Georgia,  are citizens of Georgia. You do your activities in all spheres of the life of Georgia and you will further do it. I am pleased to note  that, my friend, dear  Eduard Shevardnadze after being the head of Georgia, the   situation of Azerbaijanis living in Georgia has been improved, Azerbaijanians living in Georgia  indeed got  all rights and gained opportunity how to use these rights. One of your rights is – freedom of conscience and religion.

Now in Azerbaijan and  in Georgia, all of  human freedoms ,  including freedom of religion, and freedom of conscience have been fully established.

You,  here in the land of Georgia,  have preserved your religion as a Muslim so far, and  these days you gained wider opportunities to keep your religion alive and develop it. This is the brightest sample of  democracy and freedom dominating  in Georgia. Therefore I express my gratitude and thanks to Georgian people, the  state  of Georgia  and  the President of Georgia on behalf of Azerbaijani people .

I state once more you are  citizens of  the Republic of Georgia..... All  regulations and laws of Georgia are  regulations and laws of your life.Your duty is to take an  active part in  activities carried out in Georgia under the rule of Eduard Shevarnadze.

Taking  part in reinforcing statehood and independence  of Georgia and  in  activities caried out for leading Georgia out of this hard situation and to give it your  support is your civic duty.

I am very pleased that you live here freely,  and you can use your rights and freedom. At the same time I want to note my assuarance that Azerbaijanis living in Georgia will further be  able to use their rights and freedoms. As equal citizens of Georgia they will live here and will do  their utmost to   strengthen the Republic of Georgia. 

Friendly and fraternal relations between Georgian and Azerbaijani people have centuries-old history.The relations are stable, up until now we have tried and  from now on we  will   further try  to strenghten these friendly  relations.

I wish all of you success in your activities. I embrace Azerbaijanis living in Georgia  and wish you healthy life and happiness. I wish The Georgian Government  to implement the goals set, Thank you.

On the occasion of my visit I present you ‘Koran’ in Azerbaijani language on behalf of me  so that you can read it in your language. Accept my present to your mosque and keep it as a memory.

Thank you.

 “Azerbaijan” newspaper, March 10, 1996