His Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Tomorrow the Republic of Azerbaijan celebrates the 28th of May 1918, the date of the foundation of the first Republic in the Muslim orient, the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, and on this occasion I want to express my deepest admiration and sense of friendship for you personally and for the people of your country. This celebration is of great symbolic importance, marking as it does the restoration of the national statehood of your people, a sense of nation that goes back in history more than a millennium, and is thus unshakably rooted in history.
Thanks to your father President Heydar Aliyev, the founder of modern-day Azerbaijan, and to you, the sense of nationhood of Azerbaijan has been resurrected and raised to new heights, and today you lead a proud and independent people, who can boast citizenship of an advanced, educated and modern country. This, in the short history of the modern era of the Republic of Azerbaijan, is an extraordinary achievement that does you great credit, ranking you amongst some of the most outstanding leaders I have had the honor to meet.
Yours in friendship,
President of the European Olympic Committees