Pakistani FM speaks to his counterpart in Sri Lanka on crisis

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday telephoned his counterparts from Sri Lanka and Nepal and proposed to host the SAARC health ministers conference to firm up efforts to jointly fight the coronavirus pandemic, the Press Trust of India reported.

The Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement that Qureshi also proposed that a video conference could be organised first in view of the prevailing global health emergency.

During his conversation with his Sri Lankan Minister for Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena, the two Foreign Ministers exchanged views on the situation arising from the coronavirus outbreak and ways to enhance cooperation to combat the threat posed by the rapid spread of the pandemic.

“Reaffirming abiding commitment to the SAARC process, Foreign Minister Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to host the SAARC Health Ministers’ Conference to enhance cooperation among member countries and development partners in the health sector, with particular focus on Covid-19,” the Foreign Office said.

Qureshi underscored that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) provided an important platform for regional cooperation. There was a need to revitalise this key organization to tackle common challenges.

In the context of effective efforts to combat the global pandemic, the Foreign Minister noted that Pakistan has proposed that sanctions on Iran be lifted so that humanitarian relief can be provided at this time of crisis to save precious human lives.

Qureshi further noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan has proposed that developed countries may facilitate developing countries to meet the challenge through debt restructuring so that they can use limited resources to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on their economies and provide effective relief to the poor people.

During his conversation with his Nepali counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, detailed discussions were held on the situation arising from the spread of Covid-19, reiterating readiness to host the SAARC Health Ministers conference.

The Foreign Minister noted that Pakistan has proposed that sanctions on Iran be lifted so that humanitarian relief can be provided.

The Foreign Minister of Nepal appreciated the proposal. He also expressed concerns on the humanitarian crisis in Iran.

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