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Azerbaijan urges Pakistani businesses to capitalize on global transit corridors connecting both states

ISLAMABAD: Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov urged Pakistani businesspersons on Thursday to capitalize on opportunities provided by international transit corridors passing through the Central Asian country as Islamabad eyes greater regional trade and connectivity. 

Bayramov arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday night for a two-day visit during which he met Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar and held delegation-level talks. According to Pakistan’s foreign office, both sides reviewed progress on bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and global developments.

Pakistan has aimed to enhance its role as a pivotal trade and transit hub connecting the Central Asian republics with the rest of the world, leveraging its strategic geographical position.

One of the main international transit corridors Pakistan can use to enhance regional trade is the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), also referred to as the Middle Corridor. It begins from southeast Asia and China, crosses Kazakhstan and connects to Azerbaijan through the Caspian Sea. From there, the route proceeds to Georgia, Turkiye, and Europe. It is utilized extensively in both directions.

“We invite Pakistani business representatives to consider the opportunities provided by the international transit corridors passing through the territory of Azerbaijan and the Baku International Sea Trade Port,” Bayramov said as he spoke at a joint media briefing with Dar in Islamabad.

The Baku port, situated at a pivotal intersection with Europe to the west, Asia to the east, and the Middle East to the south, serves as a hub for connecting these three major regions.

Relations between Pakistan and Azerbaijan have strengthened recently, particularly in defense, energy, and trade. Last year, they signed an agreement for discounted LNG supplies from Azerbaijan to Pakistan to boost Pakistan’s energy reserves. 

Pakistan also seeks to boost its status as a key trade link between Central Asia and the world through the ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. China has invested over $65 billion in the energy and infrastructure corridor which aims to enhance both countries’ connectivity and improve Pakistan’s infrastructure. 

Bayramov said Azerbaijan was also investing heavily in railroad infrastructure, both in its territory and neighborhood.

“At the same time we are aware of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and we believe that the transit transportation dimension of this project can also be a very good synergy when we talk about the participation of both countries in connectivity, in trade, and we see great potential here, and it was one of the topics of today’s discussions,” the Azeri foreign minister said. 

Pakistan has sought third-party investment in CPEC for which it has invited Saudi Arabia, Turkiye, Germany, UAE, Iran, Indonesia and Afghanistan to join the multi-billion-dollar project. However, there has been no progress on that front.

Dar, meanwhile, said both countries agreed to further enhance multifaceted cooperation in trade, investment, connectivity, security, energy, and defense.

The Pakistani deputy premier also sought support from Azerbaijan in the upcoming election for non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) where Pakistan is vying to be elected for the eighth time.

Elections for five of the 10 non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council for 2025-26 are scheduled for June 6.

“I will take this opportunity for your [Azerbaijan] great support for our candidature as the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the election which is going to be held on the 6th of June next month,” Dar added.


Taimur Ali, who works at the Central Asia section at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad, said Pakistan’s growing inclination toward maintaining beneficial bilateral and multilateral relations with Central Asian republics stemmed from Islamabad’s comprehensive national security policy, which was published in 2022.

“Apart from this, the tilt toward Central Asian republics is a factor in the overall Eurasian integration process as well, because Pakistan’s strategic location is at a very advantageous position, which plays the role of a zipper between Central Asian and South Asian countries,” he told Arab News.

He said Pakistan wants to remain connected to Central Asian states through CPEC to derive maximum benefits from the mega project.

“Since Central Asian republics are geographically very close to Pakistan and CPEC-related projects, it is but natural that Pakistan would invite all Central Asian countries to invest and be a part of the CPEC project,” he explained.

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