Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif is likely to visit Azerbaijan as soon as Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started preparations in consultation with other Ministries, Azernews reports, citing foreign media outlets.
In view of the endeavors of current government aimed at enhancing connectivity and economic cooperation with the Central Asian Republic and Azerbaijan, the upcoming visit will be crucial for bilateral relations, the sources added.
Pakistan and Azerbaijan are also scheduled to hold third round of Bilateral Political Consultations on May 30-June 1, 2023 in Baku, to be attended by Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary, official sources told Business Recorder. Both sides will review implementation status of decisions taken during the last PBC meeting and JMC-activation of Working Groups, the sources added.
On bilateral relations, both sides, sources said, will discuss possibilities of high-level visit like prime ministers and foreign ministers, status of pending Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs)/ agreements, in addition to briefing on Kashmir and Karabakh respectively.
The agreement on the reciprocal encouragement and protection of investments, signed in October 1995 has been terminated and notice of termination served on October 26, 2022 after sharing new draft BIT with Azerbaijani side on September 7, 2022.
The issues of trade and economy are also part of agenda of Secretary level talks which are as follows: review on decisions of Working Group on Trade; Preferential Trade Agreement; tariff-free access to Pakistani rice; Transit Trade Agreement; scope of more trade in agriculture produce including fruits and vegetables; and exchange of business delegation and participation in fair and exhibitions in respective countries.
PTA is under negotiation between Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Economy of Azerbaijan. Commerce Ministry has also recommended signing of Transit Trade Agreement instead of the two transport agreements.
Pakistan Mission forwarded MoU to Ministry of National Food Security and Research on cooperation in agriculture sector.
For connectivity between both countries, possibility of operations of airlines and land will also be considered.
The Pakistan Mission has forwarded counter draft of mutual recognition agreement on cooperation in field of plant quarantine and plant protection.
Draft transit trade agreement received from Ministry of Commerce was shared with Azerbaijan on September 19, 2022. However, negotiations are yet to start. Lead from Pakistan side is Ministry of Commerce. On energy, follow up on the outcomes during the visit of Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Joint Working Group on Energy and PSO-SOCAR talks are also on the agenda of talks.
The regional issues, like Iran, Russia, Turkiye, Afghanistan, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, trilateral mechanism of engagement and security will also be discussed during talks.
On education and cultural cooperation, both sides will discuss the following issues: cooperation between ADA and FCA-announcement of the MoU; AIDA-sponsored language course for one junior diplomat- announcement during the talks; language exchange programme for one Azerbaijani diplomat at National University of Modern Language; general student exchange programme/ scholarship exchange; accreditation of Azerbaijani universities in Pakistan; sister cities-agreement on cultural cooperation; and airing Pakistani dramas on popular Azerbaijani channels. Both sides will also discuss issues related to tourism and specialized tourism to Northern areas from Azerbaijan.
On the agreement between Azerbaijan and Pakistan on readmission of persons residing without authorization, Mission has sent its views/comments to the Ministry.