On April 10, presentation of the Baku-2015 First European Games to be held in Azerbaijan took place in Moscow.
Azerbaijan’s First Lady, President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Chairperson of the European Games Organizing Committee Mehriban Aliyeva addressed the ceremony:
- Dear Guests!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I’m very pleased to be again in Moscow, a city where I’ve spent my youth years and studentship that are associated with numerous bright memories. It is particularly pleasing to be among the people who are very close to me, and kind. I would like to welcome you to this evening and sincerely thank you for spending it with us.
Our meeting is devoted to the first European Games to be held in summer this year in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. We have held presentations in large capital cities of Europe such as Rome, London, Paris, Athens, Ankara and Berlin. I’m very glad today we’re going to talk about these Games in the city of Moscow, the capital of friendly Russia.
Relations between Azerbaijan and Russia base on solid historical foundation. For decades, our peoples have been tied with humanitarian, cultural and human relations. These relations have created favourable conditions for bilateral political, economic and state relations. In Azerbaijan, we have been approaching traditions with much respect and showing care towards historical past. Today’s Russian-Azerbaijani relations are an example of sincere and kind neighbourhood relations based on mutual respect. Our cooperation covers all spheres of the public life – political, economic and humanitarian. Visit by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to Azerbaijan in summer 2013 has given strong impetus to the development of bilateral relations. Regular visits of both side’s delegations representing governments, parliaments and public associations led by eminent political and public persons have become a good tradition, and, without doubt, such visits consolidates friendly relations enjoyed between our countries.
I would like to welcome the guests gathered in this hall and representing the Russian government, parliament, the Olympic Committee led by chairperson of the Russian Federation’s State Duma Sergey Naryshkin and would like to express them my deep gratitude, as you have made great contribution to consolidating the relations between our countries, and you are true friends of Azerbaijan.
There are such traditional areas in the economy where cooperation and partnership relations between our countries are very successful. This includes energy, transport, machine building, agriculture, and information and communication technologies. Volume of commodity circulation between Azerbaijan and Russia is about four billion US Dollars. Russia occupies one of the leading places in Azerbaijan’s import, and economic relations’ extension trend is, of course, a very positive factor. Our countries have been cooperating within the framework of international organizations too. In a number of matters, positions of our countries coincide. Russia was one of the 155 countries supporting Azerbaijan’s election a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. At the Parliament Assembly of the European Council, the Azerbaijani delegation, with full membership, voted against depriving the Russian delegation of the voting right and applying economic sanctions against Russia.
I would like to emphasize our humanitarian relations particularly, as cultural, humanitarian relations form the basis of intercourse between people and nations. After Azerbaijan regained its state independence, education in Russian in our republic has been maintained in full volume. There are 300 schools teaching in Russian, and the Baku Slavic University, the Russian Drama Theatre, the Russian Cultural Centre and a Branch of the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University are functioning in the country. With growing number of faculties, this branch university has become one of the leading education establishments. Held at the initiative of the presidents of the two states, the Baku International Humanitarian Forum is an obvious example of developing humanitarian relations between our countries. Eminent political persons, experts, people of science and creativity from Azerbaijan and Russia participate at this forum. Music festivals held in Azerbaijan, for example, Rostropovich Festival and Gabala Festival have become a traditional platform where world-renowned musicians and leading bands perform.
I would like to particularly note the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Russia. This organization was established recently. However, this organization has brought together Azerbaijani youth living and studying in Russia and contributed to their integration into the Russian society.
We have very good partnership relations in the sphere of sports and Olympic movement. Taking this opportunity, I would like to congratulate you on the Winter Olympic Games organized and held on the highest level in Sochi in 2014 and, of course, Russian sportsmen’s taking the first place in team total, having shown high results. We have watched these games with much interest also for a reason that we were expecting soon to organize and host such a large-scale and significant sports event.
Today, supporting sports and Olympic movement in Azerbaijan is one of the priority directions in the state policy. We, as an independent state, have been participating in the Olympic Games since 1996 and we take pride in the showings of our athletes. At the last Summer Olympiad held in London, our team won 10 medals, including two gold ones, and among the European countries they took the 12th place and the 30th among all participants. At the Olympic Games among juveniles held last year in China, our team, young athletes won 12 medals, including 5 gold ones, and took the 10th place among some 200 participating teams.
Much attention is being shown in Azerbaijan towards building and modernizing the sports infrastructure. Over 40 modern Olympic centres were built in the country for the last 10 years. Of course, as a result of this, the number of young people engaging in sport, choosing sports as a profession for themselves is growing year-by-year, and they are facing good opportunities and perspectives.
Our country has gained much expertise in holding international sports events. European and world championships are held in Baku on various types of sports. High level of these events’ organization is also emphasized by members of delegations.
In one word, all these factors and our sportsmen’s achievements, strong support by the state to sports, modern sports infrastructure and, of course, our country’s rapid development have formed the basis of the decision by the European Olympic Committee to hold the first European Games in Baku. These Games will open a new page in the history of the European sport. To organize and hold the first European Games is a great honour and responsibility. Over 6 thousand athletes will participate in the Games. They will compete in 20 sports types, 16 out of which are Olympic sports types. Of course, the Baku Games are going to define the level and standards for the following Games. Although we had been allocated only two and a half years for the preparation for the Games, we are determined to hold these Games on the level of Summer Olympic Games. Being a very strong organization, the Organizing Committee has been doing all necessary works. We have been cooperating with international sports organizations, the European Olympic Committee, and international federations. We have been enjoying strong support of volunteers. Thousands of young people have expressed their wish to be a volunteer at these Games. Construction of all sports facilities has been completed and all planned 35 test events will be held before the opening day on 12th June. We take pride in the Athletes Village. I’m sure Russian sportsmen will enjoy living in this village, as we have tried to create maximum comfortable conditions to get prepared for the competitions and have rest. We take pride in the Media Village too. It has been created specifically for media representatives and meets the highest world standards. Over a thousand local and foreign reporters will cover the Games, and over 50 companies will secure broadcasting of the Games to over 100 countries.
Of course, as a country to host the first European Games, we want our guests to receive more information about our country – Azerbaijan. As an independent state, Azerbaijan is young, however, this country has old history and rich culture. As you know, Baku is on the Great Silk Way, at the crossroads of the West and East, and has mastered the spirits of a series of cultures and civilizations. We have tried to develop a very extensive and interesting cultural programme and we hope guests of Azerbaijan will receive more information about our country, which is old and young at the same time. Now, just 2 months prior to the commencement of the Games, all our team has focused its endeavours on the final stage of the preparation work. Nonetheless, I can already say that Baku is ready to receive the whole Europe. We all are on the eve of a grandiose holiday – a holiday of peace, friendship and sport. I’m sure the first European Games will take place in an environment of solidarity, unity, and sound and just competition.
Dear friends, taking the opportunity, I would like to invite all of you to Baku, to watch the Games. Let us support our sportsmen, our teams.