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Azerbaijan to hold joint military exercises with Pakistan

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BAKU: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was accorded a warm formal welcome as he arrived at the presidential palace to discuss a wide range of bilateral matters with the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday discussed a wide range of bilateral matters with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and stressed upon building strong economic and investment ties between the two countries.

In one-on-one meeting followed by delegation-level talks soon after his arrival at the sprawling Zagulba Palace, the Prime Minister expressed his desire to further translate the existing bonds of friendship and cooperation into new avenues of trade, investment and defence between the two countries.

In a joint press conference, President Aliyev thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on accepting his invitation to visit Azerbaijan and announced that Azerbaijan will hold mutual army exercises with Pakistan.

“Pakistan is our close friend and ally and both countries support each other on global forums,” he said, adding that cooperation would continue between the two countries in future.

“We want strong, friendly relations with Pakistan,” he said.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif informed President Ilham Aliyev about his government’s energy infrastructure and power projects being completed under the 46 billion dollar flagship China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which also offers immense investment potential for the investors from the Central Asian Republics (CARs).

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan is committed to vast regional connectivity through shared prosperity and is establishing stronger links with all the CARs. The two sides also discussed various international issues, including the South Asia situation particularly Indian Occupied Kashmir.

Both sides reiterated their resolve to translate their close political relations into substantive cooperation in all fields particularly economy, trade, investment, energy and defence.

The Prime Minister appreciated Azerbaijan’s support to Pakistan on the Occupied Kashmir dispute.

“We believe that all the regional and global issues must be resolved through dialogue and peaceful means within the framework of international law,” he said in the joint press conference.

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan remains an advocate of peaceful neighbourhood and development in spite of aggression from some states.

“However the courage to remain steadfast to the principles of peace must never be mistaken for weakness,” he stressed.

The Prime Minister said that the mutual support between Pakistan and Azerbaijan on Occupied Kashmir and Nagorno Karabakh testifies to the close understanding and convergence of common views.

Reiterating Pakistan’s stance over Nagorno Karabakh, the Prime Minister called for complete return of occupied Azeri lands, withdrawal of Armenian forces and return of DIPs and refugees.

“The prospects of development and progress of both countries as well as the peace and security of the region remain hostage to these conflicts,” he added.

The Prime Minister observed that their bilateral trade currently did not commensurate with actual potential and needed to be revitalized.

He also lauded the socioeconomic development and progress of Azerbaijan under the dynamic leadership of Aliyev.

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