President Ilham Dispels Impression Armenia can Create any Hurdle in Asia-Eurasia-Caucasus Connectivity

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Tazeen Akhtar

President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev has shared the connectivity efforts by his country and the other main players of the region between Asia Eurasia and South Caucasus, from China to Russia and from Pakistan to Iran dispelling the impression that Armenia can create any hurdle or Iran may not be on board. He looks forward that Caspian will be connected with China, Kyrgyz, Uzbekistan Rail while Gwadar is another hope for the regional and trans-regional communication. He was addressing a global seminar on “Along the Central Corridor: Geopolitics, Security and Environment”.

The President said that the decision of five-year tax exemption on the import of Pakistani rice to Azerbaijan is the result of discussions in two meetings with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. When we can get high quality rice from our brother country, we should order some from somewhere else. Gwadar Port offers a great opportunity to connect the region. Connecting this port to our infrastructure is not a big deal. Connecting the region will create new opportunities for trade, but for this, all countries will have to build a foundation of sincere cooperation.
The President of Azerbaijan called Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan as brothers and close friends.President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said that during the last few months, I have met the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif twice. We have discussed the overall expansion of bilateral relations. We have discussed how to expand the existing friendship, brotherhood and cooperation between the two brotherly countries. 
He said that we are grateful to Pakistan for its continuous support. In the context of the tense relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, during the occupation and war and then on the occasion of the independence of our region, Pakistan has supported us continuously. The people of Azerbaijan highly appreciate the political and moral support provided by Pakistan.
The President of Azerbaijan said that I had a discussion with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif about how we can further promote the economic and trade relations between the two countries. How and how it can be further increased. He said that the special regulation on the import of rice from Pakistan is a reflection of the same discussion with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.This is the result of our decision to accelerate and expand trade between the two countries. He said that I had a discussion with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif about which items we can send to each other’s countries. Why should we buy rice from any other place when we can get very high quality rice from brother country Pakistan? This decision is a reflection of our brotherly relationship and a clear result of our discussions.
He said that since the resumption of global travel after the Corona epidemic, I have spent a lot of time visiting Central Asian states. Since April, I have made three official visits to Uzbekistan and attended international events. I have been to Kyrgyzstan.The President of Kazakhstan has visited here in August on an official visit. Earlier I have been to Turkmenistan and now plan to visit Tajikistan. He said that I have met with other leaders on the occasion of various international events. I have discussed the issue of security, which has become the most important issue in today’s world. There is a need to see bilaterally and globally how we can work together in this matter. The world has changed. With a strong army and good allies in the presence of international laws, only then can you consider yourself safe in today’s world.
President Ilham Aliyev said that there are many possibilities for regional security, by following which we can ensure security. He said that infrastructure projects are ready in Azerbaijan, all rail and road projects have been completed from one corner of the country to the other. Airports, ports are all ready. All the countries of the region should have this arrangement so that the dream of establishing the corridor can be fulfilled. We see positive prospects for achieving this goal.
He said that an agreement has recently been reached on the construction of railways in China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, which was stalled for a long time.Now there is a need for merchandise to come to the Caspian. China is financially supporting the construction of this project. This is a great opportunity. He said that we have very good relations with Pakistan. Gwadar Port offers a great opportunity to connect the region. Connecting this port to our infrastructure is not a big deal. We can solve the trade tariff issue. There may be cooperation on rules, regulations and rules. All it takes is teamwork.
The President shared that  we have developed a format for active cooperation in Azerbaijan, Turkey and Kazakhstan. The first meeting of the foreign and transport ministers was held several months ago.Now our neighbor Georgia has now invited another meeting. Now it will be a meeting of four countries because we are all united, so we will adopt a policy. If the policy is not one, then no one will get its fruits.
He said that we have brought corporate management by uniting the transport institutions in our country, which has started showing positive results. We have ‘one’ for foreign investment. Creates a window. Now the bureaucratic hurdles will be minimal.This made it easier for companies from other countries to use the route.
The President  said that Armenia does not have the geographical or any other ability to influence the project. Armenia is a landlocked country. Their transport system is outdated and outdated. We are also talking to Russia. Iran is also in favor of the plan to connect the region. The only requirement is that we create a platform and lay the foundation of sincere cooperation in mutual interest, then all the parties will join it.
Executive Director of the Center for Global and Strategic Studies (CGS) Islamabad, Khalid Taimur Akram attended the Seminar from Pakistan.

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