ASTANA: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif meets Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday.

Pakistan and Azerbaijan agreed on Wednesday to hold fast-track discussions on energy collaboration, renewed their commitment to deepen bilateral engagement in several areas of cooperation and reviewed the progress of various ongoing initiatives aimed at promoting connectivity, trade and investment.

During the meeting, held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif underlined the need for fostering close cooperation on energy, a high-priority area for his government.

He nominated Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik, who visited the Azeri capital Baku last month, as the focal person for bilateral energy cooperation.

PM Shehbaz met Azeri President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the sixth Summit of Conference for Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), an intergovernm­ental forum comprising 27 countries from across Asia.

The two-day summit began on Wednesday in Astana, where the premier arrived earlier in the day, along with Defence Minis­ter Khawaja Asif, Infor­mation Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Musadik Malik and other government officials.

Before his departure, PM Shehbaz tweeted that he believed the summit “is capable of shaping a new configuration of economic cooperation and security in Asia through greater connectivity”.

“As the world faces the prospect of a recession fuelled by an increase in energy and food prices, there is a greater need to promote engagement and understanding to form win-win partnerships. Climate-induced disasters call for synergised efforts for mutually beneficial outcomes,” he said.

According to PM Office, the two heads of state reviewed bilateral ties with a view to improving cooperation in trade, investment, education, in­­f­o­rmation technology, security, agriculture, connectivity and energy. They also discussed regional and global issues of common interest.

The PM also briefed Mr Aliyev on his government’s efforts to rehabilitate the millions of flood-affected people in Pakistan and restore their livelihoods damaged by the unprecedented natural disaster induced by climate change.

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