(AGI) Baku, Mar 3 - The fifth News Agencies World Congress(NAWC) will be held in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, in 2016.The meeting will be hosted by Azeri news agency AzerbaijanState Telegraph Agency (AzerTAc), which holds the presidencyuntil 2019. The announcement was made by the agency's directorgeneral, Aslan Aslanov, on the 95th anniversary of itsfounding. Azerbaijan was a rapidly evolving and tolerantcountry with a Muslim majority, in which religion and state arealways kept apart, Mr Aslanov said in an interview with AgenziaGiornalistica Italia (AGI) on the sidelines of a NAWC boardmeeting to hone the details of the international event.Azerbaijan set up the first Muslim parliamentary republic inthe Orient 97 years ago, presented the first opera in the East,Leyli and Majnun, 107 years ago, published the first dailynewspaper 140 years ago, and set up the area's first pressagency 95 years ago. It was now time for Azerbaijan to cementrelations with the West, partly through information channels,and to become a model country for all the others because of itspeace and stability, he added. The anniversary celebrationswere also attended by current NAWC president and head of theSaudi Press Agency, Abdullah bin Fahd Al-Hussein, who hostedthe congress in Riadh in 2013. Also present were the presidentof the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), Prof. Dr.Frances Westall, the CEO of the British Press Association CliveMarshall and the Director General of Russian agency ItartassSergei Mikhailov, along with many press agencies such asSpanish news agency EFE, Reuters, AGI, Agence France Presse(AFP), Romania's news agency Agerpres, Turkey's Anadolu andBulgaria's BTA. Azerbaijan had been part of the URSS for 70years, said Mr Aslanov, and only the Azeris had really beenaware of AzerTAC, but the agency now exchanged news with some130 countries around the world. The world was changing and thechallenges were increasing; those who produced the news wereduty-bound to tackle and respond to these challenges. Baku isalso set to host the 16th Organisation of Asia-Pacific NewsAgencies (OANA) general assembly in 2016, which was also aclear sign of the country's importance and its place in theglobal information system, Mr Aslanov stated. (AGI) . .