By Ansar M Bhatti in Baku
BAKU, FEB 8 (DNA) – Hikmat Hajiyev Assistant of the President of Azerbaijan and Head of Foreign Policy Affairs Department, office of the President of Azerbaijan has said Azerbaijan accords immense importance to its relations with brotherly country Pakistan adding his country was indebted to Pakistan for supporting Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
He said Pakistan in fact was the third country after Turkey and Romania that recognized Azerbaijan therefore our relations are deep-rooted and have historical perspective.
He expressed these remarks while meeting with a delegation of senior Pakistani journalists, who are in Baku to observe parliamentary elections 2020.
He said Azerbaijan considers Kashmir as disputed area and calls for its resolution through UN resolutions and dialogue.
“Azerbaijan and Pakistan closely cooperate on various regional and international forums including the OIC. The OIC needs to address issue of Islamophobia. Azerbaijan is a country of religious tolerance; harmony and people hailing from various faiths and sects are living side by side in Azerbaijan”.
To a question about early elections in Azerbaijan Mr. Hikmet said the parliament happens to be the executive branch of the government and the snap elections for sure would create harmony and further understanding.
He cited an example to further elaborate his point as to why the snap elections were called saying if you have a nice Apple processor but if the printer is not adaptable then you have you change it.
“The snap elections would help gear up reforms process in Azerbaijan and the new parliament is likely to support and augment the process of reforms in various fields”, he added.
He said due to drastic steps taken but the incumbent government the level of poverty has decreased to only four percent while ratio of unemployment has also reduced considerably.
He said owing to economic and social reforms of the government Azerbaijan now happens to be the high income countries of the world.
He said much emphasis has also been laid on improvement and development of infrastructure in the country and country now stands out as one of the most development states not only in the region but in the world also.
Hikmat Hajiyev further said Azerbaijan is keen to enhance and strengthen trade and economic relations with Pakistan. Azerbaijan is also taking keen interest in Gwadar port adding Gwadar can really be beneficial.
When asked to comment on CPEC project and Azerbaijan’s prospects of joining it, he said it was indeed an important project adding Azerbaijan was keen to enhance its links with various countries mainly thru road and rail links.
He told that a railway line from Azerbaijan to Iran was in the final stages and through Iran Azerbaijan can be connected with Pakistan. Likewise from Pakistan Azerbaijan can have access to Chinese markets also.
Apart from political relations, Azerbaijan and Pakistan have cooperating in the defence field also.
To a question about direct air links he said there was a direct flight between the two countries however it had to be stopped because according the airline it was not economically viable.
While agreeing with the preposition that direct air links were a sine qua non for strengthening of trade and economic relations, he said both sides have to find ways and means in order to resolve connectivity issues.
While identifying various avenues of mutual cooperation he said Pakistan is good in textile and Azerbaijan would like to encourage Pakistani exporters to export textile related products. This can certainly cement bilateral relations between two countries.
Likewise, Pakistani mangoes are also very popular in Azerbaijan. Similarly Pakistani oranges are also very popular and Azerbaijan imports citrus from other countries. It can be yet another area which can bring both countries closer in terms of trade and economic relations.
He also underlined the need for deeper cooperation in tourism sector also. Both countries are blessed with a plethora of touristic attractions therefore tourists from both countries can be encouraged to visit these places.-DNA
Full text of the article will be published in the coming issue of CENTRELINE journal