Pakistan, Azerbaijan agree to enhance bilateral trade, expand cooperation in diverse areas

ISLAMABAD, Dec 18 (APP):Pakistan and Azerbaijan on Friday 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.

This was agreed during the 2nd Round of Pakistan-Azerbaijan Bilateral Political Consultations (BPC) held in a virtual mode.

The Pakistan side was led by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, while the Azerbaija delegation was headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Ramiz Hasanov, a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here said.

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.

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, there was strong mutual desire to further expand the economic and trade ties, deepen cultural cooperation, and strengthen connectivity between the two brotherly countries.

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Agreeing that bilateral political relations were 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.

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 Organization of Islamic Cooperation (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 Line of Control (LoC), threatening peace and security.

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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.