Pakistan denies claims it dispatched mangoes to Sri Lanka

Pakistan today denied claims it dispatched mangoes to Sri Lanka and other countries after it was reported that Sri Lanka had refused to accept the gift.

It was reported yesterday that Pakistan’s mango diplomacy found no takers in several countries, including Sri Lanka, which declined to accept the fruits citing coronavirus concerns.

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan said that Pakistan had not dispatched any mangoes to these countries.

“We have seen media reports regarding dispatch of Pakistani mangoes last week as gift to some foreign dignitaries. We reject these reports as factually incorrect and misleading,” Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan said.

Every year, the President of Pakistan sends high-quality mangoes as gift to selected countries as part of goodwill and to promote trade diplomacy efforts.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs prepares a list of countries keeping in view quarantine regulations, sanitary and phytosanitary requirements as well as availability of flights. Since last year, Covid-19 related stipulations are also part of the consideration.

“For the current year, the process is still in the planning stage. As such, there is no question of dispatch of mangoes to any country,” Chaudhri said.

Media reports said yesterday that Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) had sent boxes of the fruit to heads of more than 32 countries on Wednesday but the US and China among others had declined to accept them. (Colombo Gazette)