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COVID-19: Pakistan takes advice from New Zealand, Norway

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi discussed his counterpart in New Zealand the successful containment of Coronavirus in New Zealand.

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Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made a telephonic contact with his New Zealand counterpart, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters today.

Both the leaders discussed the global challenge of COVID-19 and other affairs of mutual interest between both the nations. Following the outbreak of coronavirus, FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi praised the efforts made by the authorities of New Zealand in curbing the spread of the deadly disease. Moreover, he also thanked his counterpart for extending the visas of the Pakistani nationals stuck in New Zealand amid the pandemic situation.

Earlier on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with Foreign Minister of Norway Ine Eriksen Søreide.

During the telephonic conversation, the foreign minister offered condolences over the loss of lives in Norway due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

He briefed the Norwegian foreign minister on the measures taken by the government of Pakistan to contain the pathogen and underscored the need for solidarity within the international community during these challenging times.

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Shah Mehmood Qureshi highlighted the importance of Prime Minister Imran Khan’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 their economic fallout.

“The Global Initiative on Debt Relief will bring together stakeholders on one platform to promote coordinated response on debt issues,” he said and added that the initiative envisions providing developing countries fiscal space and financial relief and other additional measures that could help them manage the ongoing crisis.

FM Qureshi 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 pandemic.

He also underlined concern over demonizing the Muslims in India in the context of COVID-19.

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

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Søreide shared Qureshi’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.

Pakistan’s foreign minister stressed that mutual efforts are required to overcome this epidemic. Pakistan has so far reported 15,759 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 346 deaths with the majority of cases in Punjab province.