GoP suggests devising anti COVID-19 strategy to SCO

By Staff Reporter
Tuesday – April 7, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The foreign minister (FM) Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephone conversation with Shanghai cooperation organisation (SCO) secretary general Vladimir Norov, Monday, both leaders exchanged views on adopting an effective strategy to contain the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and facing the challenges posed by it.

According to an official statement, FM Qureshi briefed Norov on the measures being taken by Pakistan to contain COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that Pakistan attached high importance to SCO as its member states comprised more than 40 percent of the world population and accounted for a quarter of global gross domestic product (GDP).

At a time when the entire world was facing this challenge, coordinated efforts through SCO platform were essential to adopt an effective strategy to control the pandemic.

FM Qureshi said that China was providing valuable support to Pakistan in dealing with the pandemic.

Underlining that China had led the way in effective containment, and a lot could be gained from learning from the Chinese experience, the FM appreciated SCO secretariat’s role in disseminating timely information on China’s effective response to the pandemic.

FM Qureshi also lauded the Russian initiative to hold a video conference of the experts of health ministries of SCO member states on April 1, 2020.

In addition to coordination and collaboration in relief and containment efforts, he called for pooling of region-wide research capabilities to combat the disease.

FM Qureshi informed SCO secretary general Norov that in order to strengthen regional cooperation in south Asia in the wake of the pandemic, Pakistan had proposed a video conference of south Asian association for regional cooperation (SAARC) health ministers to learn from each other’s experiences.

Alluding to the adverse socio-economic ramifications of the crisis, he highlighted prime minister (PM) Imran Khan’s call for debt relief and restructuring for developing countries and said that he had discussed this issue with other leaders including the secretary general of united nations (UN), the secretary general of organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) and his counterparts from European countries.

He expressed the hope that SCO will play an effective role in taking the proposal forward through its own platform.

The SCO secretary general thanked the FM for the call.

SCO secretary general Norov expressed appreciation for PM Khan’s proposal for debt relief and restructuring for developing countries and said that financial support for developing countries was the need of the hour.

He conveyed his best wishes to the government and people of Pakistan in successfully facing the challenge posed by the pandemic and reiterated his resolve to utilise all possible means to ensure effective use of SCO in coordinating efforts of member states to combat the pandemic.

FM Qureshi invited SCO secretary general Norov to visit Pakistan, as soon as the situation permitted. SCO secretary general Norov accepted the invitation with gratitude.