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Pakistan, Azerbaijan to fast-track energy talks


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev agreed on Wednesday to hold fast-track discussions on bilateral energy collaboration through robust engagement and leadership-level consultations in Islamabad to advance regional connectivity.

Shehbaz met Aliyev in Astana on the sidelines of the Sixth summit of the Conference for Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) being held in the Kazakhstan capital on Wednesday and Thursday (today). The prime minister is representing Pakistan at the summit.

During the meeting between the prime minister and the Azeri president, both sides renewed their commitment to intensify and deepen bilateral engagement in diverse areas. The two leaders reviewed the progress of various ongoing initiatives for promoting connectivity, trade and investment.

Shehbaz underlined the need for fostering close bilateral cooperation in energy sector, saying that it was a high-priority area for his government. He said that he had nominated the minister of state for petroleum as the focal point for bilateral energy cooperation.

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Shehbaz proposed leadership-level consultations in Islamabad aimed at advancing regional connectivity, which was received positively. The two leaders also discussed regional and global issues of common interest.

The prime minister also briefed President Aliyev on his government’s efforts to rehabilitate the millions of flood-affected people in Pakistan. President Aliyev assured him of Azerbaijan government’s full support in this context.

Shehbaz appreciated Azerbaijan’s steadfast position on Jammu and Kashmir.He reaffirmed Pakistan’s principled support to Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabagh and appreciated President Ilham Aliyev’s endeavours for bringing long-term and sustainable peace in the South Caucasus.

Earlier, Shehbaz arrived in Astana to participate in the sixth CICA Summit at the invitation of Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. He was received by Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Yerulan Zhama`ubayev at the Nursultan Nazarbayev International Airport.

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The prime minister will address the plenary meeting of CICA on October 13 (today), where he will elaborate on the significance of CICA as a unique forum for promoting interaction, understanding, and collaboration amongst countries across Asia to address common challenges.

Prior to his departure for Astana on Wednesday morning, Shehbaz stressed “a greater need to promote engagement and understanding to form win-win partnerships” among the countries in Asia. ”I believe CICA is capable of shaping a new configuration of economic cooperation and security in Asia through greater connectivity,” he said in a tweet.

Earlier, the Foreign Office in a statement said, “The Prime Minister’s participation in the CICA Summit attests to the importance attached by Pakistan to promoting connectivity and economic cooperation in Asia, in keeping with the objectives enshrined in the CICA Charter.”

Established in 1992, CICA is an intergovernmental process, comprising 27 countries from all across Asia. It focuses on promoting peace, security, and socio-economic development in the Asian continent. Pakistan is one of its founding members. 

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