Sartaj Aziz: "Pakistan and Azerbaijan enjoy very cordial relations"
Azeri.Today's exclusive interview with Sartaj Aziz, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, Foreign Affairs Adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
- How do you assess the outcomes of the XIII Summit of Organization for Economic Cooperation held in Islamabad? Are you satisfied with its results?
- The 13th ECO Summit held in Islamabad on 1 March 2017 has been very successful. Summit has underscored our collective desire for regional integration. It provided us with an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to progress and prosperity for the ECO region. It also allowed us to identify new areas of cooperation while cementing the progress on matters currently under process. The successful holding of the Summit is a reflection of the desire and commitment of the Member states to transform ECO into a vibrant regional block. It is also a testament to Pakistan’s commitment to act as a harbinger of positive changes and meaningful development in the region. I firmly hope that the Summit will promote prosperity in the region through enhanced connectivity and integration.
- How did the meeting of President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif proceed? What did they agree on?
- The meeting between President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went very well. The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including trade, energy and connectivity. The two leaders agreed to continue cooperation on a spectrum of issues of bilateral concerns and to support each other at multi lateral events as well. An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on cooperation in Energy was signed between the two countries during the visit of the President Ilham Aliyev.
- Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif paid an official visit to Azerbaijan in October 2016. More than four months have passed from the moment of visit. Are all agreements achieved as part of the visit being fulfilled?
- The Prime Minister's visit to Azerbaijan in October 2016, further cemented the strategic partnership between the two countries. The visit focused on enhancing bilateral cooperation in diverse fields, including energy, commerce, trade, industry, investment, connectivity, agriculture, defence, production and joint ventures. On the sidelines of the ECO Summit the two leaders discussed follow-up of the decisions taken during the visit of the Prime Minister to Baku. Both leaders expressed satisfaction at the progress of implementation of those decisions. Signing of the IGA on Energy Cooperation is a result of the follow-up of the visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
- The military and technical cooperation of Baku and Islamabad today is an important component of the Azerbaijani-Pakistani relations. And which other spheres have a potential? What is to be done for the relations between our countries to enter a more qualitative level?
- Pakistan and Azerbaijan enjoy very cordial relations. The military and technical cooperation of Baku and Islamabad is an important component of the bilateral relations, but the relations are not only confined to those realms. The two countries have also concluded an energy agreement. Pakistan and Azerbaijan are also working on Inter-Governmental Commission to boost trade between the two countries. We are looking for early conclusion of PTA. The two countries are also working on an MoU for labor exchange.
- Azerbaijan is thankful to Pakistan and Pakistani people for the support in war with Armenia for Nagorno-Karabakh. You are quite a well-known diplomat in Pakistan and you have a great experience of governmental work. To what extent is diplomacy effective in resolving territorial disputes?
- In February 2012, Senate Foreign Relations Committee of Pakistan recognized "Khojaly Tragedy" in Karabakh (1992) as genocide, further reinforcing our support to Azerbaijan. The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly of Pakistan has also recently passed a resolution condemning the occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories by Armenia. These resolutions are a testimony of the support of Pakistani people for Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh.
- There are some initiatives and proposals on Pakistani – Indian settlement but none of them brought peace and stability in your region. What model of peaceful settlement does Pakistan offer to resolve the conflict?
- Jammu & Kashmir is the core dispute between Pakistan and India which remains unresolved for the last 7 decades. The UNSC resolutions provide clear guidelines for the settlement of the dispute through a UN administered plebiscite to determine the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
India and Pakistan have held numerous rounds of dialogue which remain inconclusive. Pakistan believes that the only way forward to resolve the Jammu & Kashmir dispute and other festering issues, and to develop people to people contacts and trade and business relations, is continued and uninterrupted dialogue process between the two countries. However, India remains reluctant to follow this path and the dialogue remains suspended.
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