Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with Foreign Minister Pekka Olavi Haavisto of Finland today. Ways and means to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and its socio-economic fallout came under discussion.

The Foreign Minister briefed the Finnish Foreign Minister on the measures being taken by the government of Pakistan to contain the pathogen while safeguarding economic well-being and livelihoods of the people, particularly the most vulnerable segments.

The Foreign Minister highlighted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘Global Initiative on Debt Relief’ for the developing countries which was urgently needed to free up resources to fight the pandemic and mitigate its adverse economic impact. The Initiative will bring together stakeholders on a platform to undertake coordinated action. Besides creating fiscal space and providing financial relief, the Initiative envisions additional measures to manage the ongoing crisis.

The Foreign Minister expressed concern over the continued communications and movement restrictions in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) that were hampering dissemination of information and unfettered supply of medicines and other essentials needed to combat the disease. He also noted that the Hindutva-inspired BJP Government in India was using the Pandemic to demonize India’s Muslim minority in the context of Covid-19, an attempt that should be rejected by the international community.

The two Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s continued support for peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and expressed the hope for an early commencement of Intra-Afghan negotiations.

The Foreign Minister of Finland thanked the Foreign Minister for expressing solidarity and concurred with him on having a coordinated international approach to deal with Covid-19. Foreign Minister Haavisto shared the concern by Foreign Minister Qureshi vis-à-vis the negative fallout of Covid-19 on the fragile economies of developing countries. The two leaders agreed to remain engaged on the debt relief initiative and enhancement of bilateral relations.

Islamabad

30 April 2020

189/2020
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