Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif made press statements
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif have made press statements.
The President of Azerbaijan made the statement first.
Statement by President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Mr. Prime Minister, my dear brother.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Azerbaijan.
I am very glad to host my dear brother, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in our country. We have relations, which are relations between the brothers. Our contacts with the Prime Minister – they have a regular character. We met last year twice on the sidelines of the international events. I`m grateful to the Prime Minister that he accepted my invitation to pay an official visit to our country.
Relations between our countries are relations, which are based on mutual history, culture, traditions, religion, solidarity and mutual support. We are very grateful to Pakistan for its support to Azerbaijan during the times of occupation and the 44 days of the Patriotic War of 2020.
Pakistan is the country that did not establish diplomatic relations with Armenia because of occupation. And this is a natural position of brothers. We are very grateful for that.
Today, I informed Mr. Prime Minister about ongoing negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia on a peace agreement and the prospects of signing this agreement; I think we are here. Armenia just needs to demonstrate a political will and put on paper what they have already officially announced that Karabakh is Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan always supports and will continue to support Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir. We demonstrate this support and solidarity in all international organizations. Of course, mutual support unites our countries and our peoples even more.
People of Azerbaijan know very well who was with us during the times of 44- day War - it was Türkiye and Pakistan who expressed strong political support to us.
Today, we discussed a broad range of issues of our bilateral agenda, regional development, and regional security issues. We have a full mutual understanding of how to move forward. We agreed that soon several delegations from Azerbaijan will visit Pakistan. One will focus on trade and investment missions, another on issues related to energy cooperation, and the third will address cooperation issues in the defense industry.
We also agreed that we would work hard to enhance our mutual trade. The step towards that will be the signing of an MoU to start working on that and work on the list of items that will be included in the list of preferential trade between our countries.
Great opportunities in the area of energy, whether it`s fossil fuel projects or projects related to renewable energy sources. We also agreed today that we would increase the number of flights between our cities and the capitals. So, that was a very good result of today's meeting.
We see big potential in the area of education. Now we have 750 students from Pakistan studying in our universities, and just to illustrate how rapidly this process goes, I just want to say that last year there were only 100. And we hope to host more of our young brothers from Pakistan. And Azerbaijanis also studied in Pakistan – they today in different areas already contribute to our development.
We also discussed cooperation in the area of defense and defense industry. As I already said, we agreed to increase the number of joint military exercises we had in the past. There is a need for that. Because the situation in the world is changing, instability areas are growing. Therefore, strong military capacity is a guarantee of independence and territorial integrity.
For almost 30 years, Azerbaijan was involved in the negotiations with Armenia, which did not produce any result. Only our military might, and the spirit of Azerbaijani soldiers restored our territorial integrity. So, we restored it not because of negotiations or not because of some mediators. On the contrary, negotiations and mediation efforts were only left to freeze the situation. But we disagreed with that. We restored our territorial integrity and liberated our lands on the battlefield sacrificing the lives of 3,000 of our sons.
So, we know how international law works selectively and how resolutions of the United Nations Security Council are not being implemented. We both know that. And the guarantee for your independence, territorial integrity, security and well-being of your people is your economic, political and military capability. So, on all these issues, we have a full mutual understanding. Pakistan and Azerbaijan are countries that always stand shoulder to shoulder. And also, an important factor is that our peoples share the same views as the leaders. You can see in many parts of Baku Pakistani flags. They have been installed here during the times of the Second Karabakh War. And they are still here, despite the war ending two and a half years ago. So, this is the people’s attitude, and we see the same from our brothers from Pakistan.
Again, Mr. Prime Minister, I'd like to express gratitude for visiting us. I always enjoy meeting with you and discussing our bilateral agenda. I also want to congratulate the people of Pakistan on such a great leader as Prime Minister Sharif - the person with a great vision, experience, knowledge and commitment to the country’s development, strengthening its independence. And under your leadership, I'm sure the brotherly people of Pakistan will achieve even more heights, successes, and achievements.
I wish you and your people prosperity, happiness and peace. Thank you.
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Then, the Prime Minister of Pakistan made the statement.
Statement by Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif
- My dear brother, Mr. President Aliyev.
First of all, since we arrived in your beautiful country last evening, I have been very pleasantly surprised at every moment. My brother Nawaz Sharif told me once that when you go to Baku, you will see what a beautiful city it is. We arrived in Baku last evening. This morning, I visited the Alley of Honor to pay respects to your great father, Heydar Aliyev. You are a son well worthy of your father. It was a great honor for me to visit the Alley of Honor.
I am sure that the soul of your genius father is happy that your beautiful country and people are developing under your leadership.
At the same time, we also visited the Alley of Martyrs. There, I bowed my head for the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for this country. My dear brother, what I saw along the way when I came here left a deep impression on me. Great things have been done in your country thanks to your hard work and leadership. Before I return to Islamabad, I have a few requests to ask of you. We need your expertise in urban planning and landscaping. Your city is extremely clean, and the issue of waste disposal – in other words, we need your expertise in these areas. I am very happy and satisfied that your country is developing this way.
Mr. President, we have had very fruitful negotiations today. Of course, I want to say in front of the camera that mutual understanding prevails on all issues in our bilateral talks, and our positions overlap on both bilateral and multilateral issues.
Pakistan and Azerbaijan are two brotherly nations. Our relations are based on mutual support, sincerity and respect. As the plane was landing at Baku airport, I saw the Pakistani flag flying there and even outside the airport. A delegation member told me, Mr. Prime Minister, notice that the flag of Pakistan is flying even outside. This is the attitude towards Pakistan in Azerbaijan, and the people of Pakistan love the people of Azerbaijan as brothers and sisters. As a visionary leader, you have also contributed to this work. I can honestly say that these centuries-long relations are very strong. Unfortunately, our trade and investments are not at the level of these relations today. We can do a lot more in cooperation, and Mr. President, I know you intend to increase it. We are determined to do so. In today's meeting with Mr. President, we discussed the issue of further developing these relations in specific areas.
Azerbaijan is rich in natural resources, including major oil and gas resources. We, of course, have shortages in this area. We are a country dependent on very expensive imports. This is very expensive for us. Last year, we spent 27 billion US dollars in this area. In other words, my dear brother, we cannot overcome this because we are faced with a number of various challenges. Our country is under great pressure due to inflation, rising imported oil prices and the Ukraine conflict. Just imagine – because of that, we spent 27 billion US dollars on energy. Praise be to Allah, Azerbaijan has this wealth, and we want to cooperate with Azerbaijan in petrochemicals. We are currently negotiating with Saudi Arabia's “Aramco,” we would be very happy if Azerbaijan could join this issue and take over a part of the money we are spending on this field as an investment. We have potential in the field of solar energy. Let me assure you, my dear brother, that if we realize our dreams through hard work, we can exchange this very expensive cost for solar energy, i.e., the cost of importing oil. We can even export this energy. It is possible. Because our potential in this field is equal to 10,000 megawatts. I am inviting you too. You have also expressed a positive opinion about this issue, as Azerbaijan can participate and invest in this field. We are ready to provide all support for Azerbaijan to enter this area.
Of course, Pakistan is a country exporting rice to Azerbaijan. My representative is here, and he is working very hard on this so that we can increase the exports of rice. Thank you and your government for having removed all duties so that Pakistani rice can be exported to the Azerbaijani market without any obstacles. Inshallah, Pakistan's Basmati rice brand will also be introduced to supermarket chains in Azerbaijan.
The transport area – we will discuss this issue again. At the same time, we want to develop the tourism sector. I am pleased to note that “Azerbaijan Airlines,” AZAL, will soon start flights from Baku to Islamabad. Of course, “Pakistan International Airlines” will also cooperate. As far as I know, flights can also be opened to Karachi and Lahore. I am inviting the Minister of Transport of Azerbaijan to visit Pakistan to discuss these issues and develop tourism.
Besides, there are other areas where we can cooperate more closely. Let me assure you that we are ready to work closely with you and achieve all our goals.
Thank you, Mr. President; you have always stood by our brothers and sisters on the issue of Kashmir. For more than 70 years, we have been subjected to India's acts of terrorism and unparalleled violence. All kinds of violations have taken place there. The relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council were flagrantly violated to the extent that Mr. Nehru promised in his parliament in the 1950s that India would keep its promises. But not only that promise but also a number of obligations after that have been sent to the dustbin of history. The brutality they committed has ended the lives of thousands of our Kashmiri brothers and sisters. They have become martyrs. Even two- and three-year-old children were killed. It is possible to see the bodies of civilians in that area every day.
Mr. President, thank you very much for your moral support. This is very valuable for us and inspires us, our Kashmiri brothers and sisters, to one day achieve the issue of self-determination, Inshallah.
Pakistan has always supported the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. We have always unequivocally supported Azerbaijan’s right over Karabakh. Your Army fought very bravely, liberated Karabakh and restored the territorial integrity of your country. Pakistan has always supported Azerbaijan. This was our duty as brothers, and we have fulfilled it.
I am satisfied that a peace agreement with Armenia is already being negotiated. As you know, Pakistan is one of a handful of countries that have not established diplomatic relations with Armenia, and this is our moral obligation. If you send us a message after signing the peace agreement with Armenia, we can reconsider this matter. We unequivocally support Azerbaijan in this issue as well.
My dear brother, we have extensive opportunities. As a result of this cooperation, our imports and exports will increase dramatically. I believe that Azerbaijan is naturally a country that can play an important part in relations with Pakistan. In our neighborhood, there is Afghanistan, Iran, and China. China is a more important player. In other words, Pakistan can act as a brotherly country with Azerbaijan and Türkiye in this respect. Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia are brotherly countries. Pakistan, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates are brotherly countries. Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Qatar are brotherly countries. In other words, great things can be done together. We, as Pakistan, need to step up our efforts a bit. We must work harder and with more energy. Let me assure you that we will move forward on this issue together.
We can also make progress in the field of defense industry. I do not doubt that our cooperation will also develop in this area. There are no secrets here. We are not hiding anything. Because ultimately, it serves the peace agenda in the region and is not used for aggression. We are protecting our rights. We are promoting peace in this region so that we can protect the interests of our peoples. We look forward to cooperating in this field as well. I will gladly receive your delegation in Islamabad to establish broader relations in this field. We are waiting for your delegations in the fields of economy, commerce, trade, and aviation. At the same time, we are waiting for your delegation in the energy field so that we can attract investment to this field, to oil, petrochemicals and solar energy. I would like to assure you that these will be the most transparent relations. The process will go quickly, we will not waste time, and we will remove all bureaucratic obstacles. We will prove in these matters that these are two brotherly countries. We can make greater achievements together for the benefit of our peoples.
Thank you very much again for your hospitality, Mr. President. I am glad to be visiting your beautiful country. Thank you very much indeed for creating this opportunity for us. I have personally witnessed all your achievements. I have seen with my own eyes what has been done in this country under your leadership. I take this opportunity to invite you, Mr. President, to visit Pakistan. I have already instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to negotiate the dates, and I will be happy to see you in Islamabad, Inshallah. Thank you for your attention.