Valdis Zatlers: Azerbaijan always willing to hear out progressive youth
Former state leaders should meet with young people more often, since it allows to pass experience to those who are ready to use it in changing modern conditions, former President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers said in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza on the sidelines of the Global Forum of Young Leaders in Baku.
According to him, the capital of Azerbaijan is a very good platform for such cooperation. "Young people already have ideas, they have dreams, and this is very good for this forum. Former leaders from different countries, from different cultures, with different traditions, with different successes and failures came here. Young people from different countries, from different cultures, and even from different continents are also here, but they all understand each other immediately," he said.
He added that it "gives us optimism, belief that the future of the world, of our global world, is in good hands."
At the same time, he stressed that the forum, which takes place in Baku, is also great because it helps to destroy established negative stereotypes and create an atmosphere of trust between participants.
According to him, Azerbaijan plays an important role in this process as a secular state, open for intercultural and interconfessional dialogue.
"It is important for the country to be secular. In other words, everyone has the right to profess the faith that he prefers. Because this is a purely individual decision. And the state should protect this freedom. It is very important," he said.
"Azerbaijan is a country for everyone, not only for a select group of people or one person, because Azerbaijan is in touch with current trends, with changes that are taking place in the world," he said, adding that these changes, which young generation understands the best, are also felt by president of the country Ilham Aliyev.
"In other words, president feels the same things as young people at this forum. This is a very good sign," he noted.
He also stressed that Azerbaijan and Latvia successfully build partnership relations, despite geographical distance.
"We have good relations. I'm in politics for ten years, and all these years we have very good relations with the leadership of Azerbaijan. Both sides understand what they can give each other. It's very important," he concluded.