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Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephone conversation with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena, today.


The two Foreign Ministers had detailed exchange of views on the situation arising from Covid-19 outbreak and ways to enhance cooperation to combat the threat posed by the rapid spread of the pandemic. Challenges faced by regional States and the need for joint efforts came under review.


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. He also proposed that a video conference could be organised first in view of the prevailing global health emergency.


Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored that 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.


Foreign Minister 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 poor people.


The two Ministers agreed to work closely to promote collaborative endeavours for regional benefit.




22 March 2020

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