ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday called for using the platform of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) for joint efforts and effective strategies to combat the global outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.
Talking to SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov, Qureshi said that Pakistan also wanted to hold a video conference of the health ministers from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries to benefit from each other’s experiences regarding the epidemic.
During the telephone call, Qureshi and Norov discussed in detail the prevention of the spread of coronavirus pandemic and adopting effective strategies to overcome the challenge. He also apprised the Norov about the efforts made by Pakistan to tackle this challenge.
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Pakistan considered the SCO an important forum as the population of its member countries is more than 40% of the world population and a quarter of the total global gross domestic product (GDP), the foreign minister said.
“The whole world is currently dealing with the corona pandemic,” he said. “Joint efforts need to be implemented through the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation platform to prevent the spread of the pandemic so that effective strategies can be adopted to counter the pandemic,” he added.
“The way China has defeated this global epidemic is commendable, we have to use the experiences of China. China is helping Pakistan a lot in dealing with the corona epidemic. The timely publicity of the strategy adopted by the China to address the global challenge is a great step of the SCO Secretariat.”
The minister praised the call from the SCO health ministers conference on April 1, to address the global pandemic challenge and its emphasis on the need for adopting a joint strategy and joint efforts to prevent the outbreak.
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Qureshi told the SCO secretary general that Pakistan also wanted to hold Saarc countries health ministers’ video conference to benefit from each other’s experiences regarding the coronavirus epidemic.
Qureshi also apprised Norov of Pakistan’s proposal regarding the restructuring of the debt owed by the developing countries to support their economies in the context of the current global outbreak.
He said he had also contacted the UN secretary general, the OIC secretary general and the foreign ministers of several European and other countries. “They have reacted positively to the proposal,” the minister said.
Qureshi hoped that the SCO would play a significant role in advancing the debt restructuring proposal through its platform. Norov applauded the proposal of Prime Minister Imran Khan and stressed that economic support to the developing countries was urgently needed.
He assured that the SCO Secretariat would continue to use all possible efforts to prevent the spread of this outbreak. Qureshi invited Norov to visit Pakistan as soon as the situation permitted, which he accepted.