ISLAMABAD, Dec 18 (APP): The second round of Pakistan-Azerbaijan Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) was held in a virtual mode on Friday, focusing renewed cooperation in diverse fields.

The Pakistan side was led by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, while Deputy Foreign Minister Ramiz Hasanov headed the Azerbaijan delegation.

The two sides reviewed the full spectrum of bilateral relations, including cooperation in the political, trade and economic, energy, defence, education and culture arenas.

Guided by the vision and direction of the respective leaders, Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Ilham Aliyev, the two sides expressed a strong mutual desire to further expand the economic and trade ties, deepen cultural cooperation, and strengthen connectivity between the two brotherly countries.

Terming the bilateral political relations of exemplary quality, the two sides affirmed the resolve to take the overall relationship to a new level.

Reiterating Pakistan’s principled support on the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Foreign Secretary extended felicitations on the historic success in liberation of Azerbaijan’s occupied territories.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hasanov thanked for Pakistan’s support, which won profound admiration by the government and people of Azerbaijan.

Discussing the existing state of play in the economic cooperation, the two sides agreed to enhance and diversify bilateral trade to its optimal potential and expand cooperation in the fields of energy, agriculture, science and technology, railways and education.

It was emphasized to take tangible steps to improve mobility of businessmen, students and tourists, including through early commencement of direct flights between the two countries.

Both sides expressed satisfaction on mutual cooperation at the international fora, especially at the United Nations and OIC and reaffirmed their continued support to each other on all issues of mutual interest at the global and regional forums.

The Foreign Secretary recognized Azerbaijan’s valuable support to Pakistan on the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) at various international fora, including at the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir.

He briefed the Azerbaijani counterpart about the grave situation in IIOJK, marked by gross violations of human rights, illegal attempts to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, and intensification of ceasefire violations by the Indian side on the LOC threating peace and security.

The Foreign Secretary stressed that the international community needed to take practical steps to address the grave situation and to facilitate peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

The Foreign Secretary also highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to the Afghan peace process with the objective of an inclusive and broad-based political settlement geared to bring lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to pursue opportunities and possibilities for imparting greater depth and substance to the bilateral relationship.

They also agreed to enhance the frequency of high-level exchanges and optimally utilize the existing institutional mechanisms to strengthen bilateral cooperation in all fields.

Azerbaijan’s Deputy FM Ramiz Hasanov in a tweet termed the agenda of meeting “very fruitful” that focused on bilateral cooperation.

“Very fruitful agenda related to wide range issues of bilateral and multilateral cooperation,” he wrote in his tweet.

“Thanks to brother Sohail Mahmood, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and his team,” the Azeri Deputy FM said as he mentioned the political consultations held between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan and Pakistan.

Azerbaijan’s ambassador in Pakistan Ali Alizada in a tweet following the consultations said, “Foreign Ministries of Azerbaijan & Pakistan will work more closely and actively for further cementing and deepening fraternal bilateral ties”.

He mentioned that the two sides agreed on enhanced cooperation during “productive and successful” Bilateral Political Consultations held online between the Foreign Ministries of Pakistan and Azerbaijan.