The First Lady and Vice-Presindent of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva quit UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador post

On November 15, 2022 the First Lady and the Vice-President of Azerbaijan Mehriban Aliyeva addressed a letter to the UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay expressing her decision to quit her activity as Goodwill Ambassador she had been involved into since 2004. In her letter to the UNESCO Director-General she emphasized the role of Azerbaijan in disseminating and preserving values and principles of UNESCO. Along with this she mentioned the importance of the Framework agreement signed between Azerbaijan and UNESCO in 2013, which is based on the intensification of cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture.

Besides that, according to the data presented on the official website of UNESCO, the Trust Fund of Azerbaijan transferred about 5 million dollars to UNESCO. ALieyeva’s letter also mentions the vandalism and policy carried out by Armenia against the cultural heritage and historical monuments of Azerbaijan during the nearly 30-year long occupation period. It was also emphasized, that after the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from long-term occupation as a result of the "Patriotic" (the 44-day) war, the First Vice-President was involved in the large-scale projects of restoration and revitalization of the region. It was noted that, taking into account the special role of the First Lady of Azerbaijan in the implementation of UNESCO programs, it becomes impossible for her to fulfill the duties of the Goodwill Ambassador of UNESCO.

At the same time Mehriban Aliyeva expressed hope that the UNESCO mission to "the occupied territories in order to assess the damage caused to the cultural heritage of Azerbaijan during the period of Armenian occupation" would not be delayed. At the end of the letter, it was also noted that Azerbaijan would continue to uphold the basic principles of UNESCO and promote the further cooperation with the organization.

According to many experts, the real reason for Aliyeva’s "resentment" is that Azoulay is from France. As stated in her letter, "the basis of the approaches of Audrey Azoulay is the French smear campaign against Azerbaijan and its contradictory position on Baku."

Moreover, Aliyeva's letter was addressed to UNESCO on the very day when the resolution supporting Armenia and proposing sanctions against Azerbaijan was to be discussed in the French Senate. With this step, the vice-president of a country that obstructs the mission of UNESCO and has committed serious crimes against humanity is trying to express his protest against the recent change in the opinion of the international community.