Remarks by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood Photo Exhibition to Commemorate 30th Anniversary of Pakistan-Azerbaijan Diplomatic Relations
His Excellency Ambassador Khazar Farhadov,
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Assalam-o-alaikum & HOS Geldiniz,
I am delighted to welcome you all to this special event and the photo exhibition, organized to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has a special place in the hearts of the people of Pakistan. Our two nations are bound together by historical and cultural ties that date back many centuries. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992, this relationship has grown into a robust and multi-dimensional partnership.
Today’s event provides us an opportunity to not only reflect on what our countries have achieved together in these 30 years but also look forward to achieving much more in the future. The pictures displayed here only provide a snapshot of 30 years of Pakistan-Azerbaijan cooperation.
Pakistan-Azerbaijan relations are firmly anchored on mutual trust, mutual understanding and mutual support on each other’s core issues.
In addition to being one of the first countries to recognize the Republic of Azerbaijan in 1991, Pakistan stood by Azerbaijan when it faced war and occupation soon after independence. It was during Pakistan’s presidency of the UN Security Council in April 1993 that Resolution 822 condemning the occupation of Azerbaijani territory was adopted by consensus. As a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Pakistan played a vital role in the adoption of three resolutions on Karabagh that provided the legal foundation for Azerbaijan’s position during the long phase of negotiations. The people of Pakistan rejoiced in Azerbaijan’s victory in the 44-Day Patriotic War that resulted in the liberation of Azerbaijan’s territories in 2020. The waving of three flags of Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Türkiye in this context illustrated the abiding solidarity of our three nations.
Pakistan deeply appreciates Azerbaijan’s consistent support for the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. As an active member of the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir, Azerbaijan has been a principled voice for the people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and their legitimate right to self-determination.
The two countries have always come to each other’s assistance in difficult times. The Heider Aliyev Foundation, whose patron-in-chief is none other than the First Lady of Azerbaijan herself, built a school in Azad Kashmir in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in 2005. The Government of Pakistan conferred the highest civil award of Hilal-e-Pakistan upon H.E Mehriban Alieyeva, in recognition of her services.
For its part, Pakistan dispatched immediate humanitarian assistance for the Azerbaijani forces serving on the frontlines after the 2020 war. Azerbaijan also helped with cash grant (USD 1 million) during the early phase of COVID-19.
As we celebrate our 30-year journey of friendship and goodwill, it is also important to focus on the future trajectory of our relationship.
Pakistan is committed to further strengthening and diversifying its special relationship with Azerbaijan. Intensifying economic cooperation and investment ties, and enhancing people-to-people linkages remain our key priorities.
The Pakistan-Azerbaijan Economic Cooperation Chamber was inaugurated in Baku last year. The conclusion of the ongoing negotiations on the Preferential Trade Agreement and the Transit Trade Agreement for International Transportation would provide further impetus to bilateral trade and economic connectivity.
There is also huge potential for collaboration in the energy sector. We look forward to enhanced engagement between our Ministry of Energy and Azerbaijan’s National State Oil Company (SOCAR).
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Cultural Center in the Azerbaijan University of Languages is making a vital contribution to bringing Pakistan’s rich civilizational heritage and history to the youth of Azerbaijan. Only last week, a Pakistani film was released on the big screen in Baku for the first time.
Exchanges between the media and civil societies of both countries have also gained momentum. I am happy to note that the Multicultural Center of Azerbaijan has been inaugurated in the National University of Modern Languages in Islamabad.
The commencement of direct flights between Pakistan and Azerbaijan earlier this year is another significant development, which would contribute to promoting trade, business ties, tourism, and people- to-people exchanges.
Let me conclude by underscoring our earnest desire to take the bilateral relationship to new heights in the years to come. We believe that a strong and multi-faceted Pakistan-Azerbaijan partnership advances our shared interests and is a factor for peace and stability in the region and beyond.
Pakistan-Azerbaijan Dosti Zindabad.
I thank you.