Pakistan, Norway agree to work closely on debt relief initiative amid coronavirus crisis

Development comes after FM Qureshi holds a telephonic conversation with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Eriksen Søreide

​ Our Correspondent April 29, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Sharing concerns over the adverse impact of Covid-19 on developing countries' economies, Pakistan and Norway have agreed to work closely on Prime Minister Imran Khan's global debt relief initiative and remain engaged.

The development comes after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with his Norwegian counterpart Ine Eriksen Søreide on Wednesday.

FM Qureshi also offered condolences over the loss of lives in Norway due to the outbreak of coronavirus. He briefed on the measures taken by the Pakistan government to contain the pathogen and "underscored the need for solidarity within the international community during these challenging times".

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According to the official statement, the foreign minister also underscored the importance of PM Imran's global initiative on debt relief’ for developing countries in order to enable them to devote their resources to fight Covid-19 pandemic and mitigate its economic fallout.

"The global initiative on debt relief will bring together stakeholders on a platform to promote coordinated response on debt issues. The initiative envisions providing developing countries fiscal space and financial relief and other additional measures that could help them manage the ongoing crisis," he added.

The foreign minister also expressed concern over the continued communications and movement restrictions in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) that are hampering dissemination of information and unfettered supply of medicines and other essentials needed to combat the pandemic. He also underlined concern over the demonisation of Muslims in India in the context of Covid-19.

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The Norwegian foreign minister thanked Qureshi for his expression of solidarity and agreed with him on the importance of international cooperation for dealing with the pandemic.

Søreide shared Pakistan's concern regarding the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the economies of developing countries.

The two sides agreed to work closely on the debt relief initiative and remain engaged, the statement added.

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