ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Mohammad Sami Saeed has reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan while highlighting the importance of the long-standing economic cooperation and friendship between the two countries.

Mr Saeed made these remarks while speaking to the media after the opening ceremony of the Second Azerbaijan National Urban Forum and Global Observance of World Habitat Day in Baku, on Saturday.

The World Habitat Day ceremony, held under the theme “Resilient cities as a driving force of economic development and fighting inequalities,” was organised by the State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture of Azerbaijan in collaboration with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in Zangilan as part of ‘Azerbaijan Urban Week.’

“The Government of Pakistan and its people fully support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan and express solidarity with the country,” stated the planning minister while speaking to the media after the opening ceremony of an event where President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev was the chief guest.

The objective of the forum was to discuss emerging urban challenges, collaborative approaches for regional resilience and sustainable development strategies.

The first National Urban Forum was held in the city of Aghdam in Azerbaijan, which was also totally destroyed, and now there is a big construction activity underway. The second forum is being held in Zangilan, which is now undergoing comprehensive reconstruction along with the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

Mr Saeed appreciated the government of Azerbaijan for conducting a successful Second National Urban Forum, which plays a vital role in the reconstruction of these devastated cities.

He noted the positive trajectory of Pakistan-Azerbaijan relations and reiterated their commitment to strengthening relations, focusing on various fields such as trade, connectivity, energy, tourism, and information technology.

During his visit, the planning minister met with the chairman of the State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture of Azerbaijan, Anar Guliyev, to discuss the avenues of collaboration. He highlighted the resilient, recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction framework (4RF) for Pakistan floods-2022, emphasising that Pakistan was severely affected by the floods, which impacted 33 million people, and this framework will contribute to building resilient infrastructure.

Published in Dawn, October 1st, 2023

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