Islamabad, February 26, 2019 (PPI-OT): The Ambassador of Azerbaijan H.E. Mr.Ali Alizada called on Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan in Islamabad today. In the meeting matters relating to increase in agriculture cooperation were discussed. Moreover it was agreed that efforts would be made from both sides for the signing of MoU which will increase the volume of Pak export of potato, citrus and mango to Azerbaijan. The relations between the two nations were established with the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the areas of cooperation are expansive including economic, cultural and military.
Both the countries have established Joint Working Group on agriculture cooperation; first meeting in this regard was held in December 2017, the second meeting of JWG is likely to be held this year around. Federal Minister Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan said that we are putting all out efforts for the manifold progress in agriculture sector and looking forward for an increased cooperation with Azerbaijan. Since Pakistan is blessed with immense potential hence we could increase trade turnout in agriculture sector. Federal Minister said that much of the potential of agro trade is lost due to the indirect trade; we should do away with shadow economy.
The Minister told the honorable guest that Pakistan citrus, mangoes and potatoes are best in the world, and Pakistani mangoes are exported to 58 countries in the world, and we hope that Azerbaijan import Pakistan mangoes which are of exceptional quality and sweetest taste. Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan said that Pakistan is looking forward to increase the potato export to Azerbaijan as it is also exported to Russia and both the countries must deliberate to find out a way for a direct trade, and the minister further added that we want our potato which is of very fine quality must land in Azerbaijan without adulteration due to direct trade between the two countries, besides this will give both the countries chance to explore new venues of cooperation in agriculture field.
Mr. Ali Alizada said that federal Minister must attend the Caspian Agro, 2019 and also introduce potential mango exporters, and he added that these arrangements for enhanced cooperation could be made well ahead of the potential signing of MoU on agriculture. The Azerbaijan Ambassador also added that Pakistan rice is very famous in his country and we are pleased to the prospect of rice export from a brotherly country, as there is a huge rice demand in Azerbaijan.
Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan said that we could explore the possibility of joint ventures in agriculture sector so both countries could mutually benefit from the positive outcome of such ventures, the Minister proposed that we could move ahead in value addition in potato for instance, the starch plant could be the starting point and the incumbent government for the ease of doing business and to support the farmers levied no duty on the import of machinery and hence a plant could be settled in Pakistan . Besides, Pakistan rice can compete with best quality rice in the world and we would be pleased if Pak rice is boosted in Azerbaijan.
H.E Mr. Alizada told the federal Minister that Azerbaijan is exporting finest quality vegetable and fruit seeds to different countries and hoped that Pakistan may like to see the potential in this regard, to which Mehboob Sultan told the honorable guest that he will do what is to be done and apprise the concerned quarters. The Minister said in the end that he hoped both the countries would keep the current track of cooperation and with sincere efforts promote the friendly relations in all spheres including agriculture. Azeri ambassador welcomed the proposal and pledged to work in the direction and bring concerned on the table.
H.E Mr. Alizada added that we support Pakistan stance on Kashmir issue on OIC forum and we commend the immense support from Pakistan to strengthen Azerbaijan army and with the support from a friendly country like Pakistan Azeri military/army force is now a power to reckon with and ranks among world’s top fifty forces. It is pertinent to mention that the next JWG meeting is likely to be held in August, 2019 in Islamabad. Azerbaijan is a member state of the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the NATO partnership for Peace (PFP) program, and a member of UN since 1992. Azerbaijan is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement and holds observer status in the World Trade Organization (WTO). Azerbaijan has a high level of human development that ranks at par with most Eastern European Counties.
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