By Vafa Ismayilova
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov has met his Turkish, Iranian, Pakistani and Kazakh counterparts within the framework of the 9th ministerial conference “Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process” in the capital of Tajikistan on March 29, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry has reported on its website.
At a meeting held with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, the two ministers focused on the current regional situation, the post-conflict reconstruction work conducted by Azerbaijan on the territories liberated from Armenia's occupation.
Bayramov and Cavusoglu also discussed bilateral cooperation and expressed gratification over the fact that Protocol #1 on amending the agreement signed in Baku on the mutual abolition of the visa regime between Azerbaijan and Turkey enters into force on April 1, 2021.
They stressed that the two countries' citizens will be able to further use local IDs when crossing the border. The two men also discussed other regional issues of mutual interest.
At a meeting between Bayramov and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, the sides exchanged views on the latest developments in the Caucasus, as well as on cooperation between the two countries in the Caspian Sea and other political and economic issues of mutual interest.
At a meeting between Bayramov and his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the sides focused on bilateral ties and prospects of cooperation between Azerbaijan's State Oil Company and Pakistani companies. The two men also mulled cooperation in the civil aviation sphere. They stressed the importance of expanding economic cooperation and holding the intergovernmental commission's next meeting on trade and economic cooperation in Baku. Additionally, the ministers stressed the importance of developing inter-parliamentary relations.
On March 29, Bayramov also met (Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia) CICA Secretariat Executive Director Kairat Sarybay. At the meeting, the executive director noted Azerbaijan's active participation in CICA from the first day and expressed his gratitude in this regard. He noted with satisfaction Azerbaijan's coordinating role in confidence-building measures for the safety and effective development of transport corridors within CICA.
Kairat Sarybay stressed the importance of Azerbaijan in ensuring regional cooperation and security.
In his turn, Bayramov noted that Azerbaijan has supported the CICA initiative from the very first day and was one of the first countries to join it, emphasizing that Azerbaijan is closely involved in the work of this platform. He added that Azerbaijan will continue to play its coordinating role within the framework of confidence-building measures for the security and efficient development of transport corridors, and in this regard will hold another event in the near future.
The sides also exchanged views on other regional issues, especially on new opportunities for cooperation in the region in the post-conflict period.
At his meeting with his Kazakh counterpart Mukhtar Tleuberdi, Bayramov stressed the high level of Azerbaijani-Kazakh bilateral relations and underlined great opportunities for expanding cooperation.
He also stressed the importance of holding a meeting of the Joint Intergovernmental Commission in terms of further development of ties.
Tleuberdi, in turn, noted the high level of relations between the heads of the two countries, which played an important role in the development of bilateral relations.
The ministers exchanged views on the implementation of a number of events to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries next year.
During the meeting, Bayramov informed his counterpart about the new regional situation after the 44-day war with Armenia from late September to early November 2020, ending with the liberation of Azerbaijani territories from the Armenian occupation and steps taken by Azerbaijan to implement the trilateral statements made on November 10, 2020, and January 11, 2021, by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders to end the war and confirm its consequences, including the agreement to open all transport communications in the region).
A Moscow-brokered ceasefire deal that Baku and Yerevan signed on November 10 brought an end to six weeks of fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani army declared a victory against the Armenian troops. The signed agreement obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s.