ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi underscored has reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to host the SAARC Health Ministers’ Meeting, suggesting a video conference could be organised due to the prevailing global pandemic.
In a telephonic conversation with Secretary-General SAARC Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, the foreign minister said being a founding member, Pakistan remained committed to the SAARC process and considered it an important platform for regional cooperation.
The foreign minister congratulated Mr Weerakoon on assuming responsibilities as the 14th Secretary-General of SAARC. He assured Pakistan’s full support and expressed hope that the SAARC process would move forward under his experienced leadership.
Both dignitaries discussed the challenges faced by South Asian States in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasised the need for joint efforts to deal with the situation. Qureshi reiterated that the proposed ‘SAARC Covid-19 Emergency Fund’ may be placed under the supervision of SAARC Secretary-General and that the modalities for utilisation shall be finalised through consultations among member states.
Discussing the economic impact of coronavirus pandemic on the developing world, Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for debt restructuring of the developing countries to enable them to dedicate resources towards saving human lives and shore up economies.
Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to work closely with the SAARC Secretariat and member states to realise the common goal of accelerating economic growth and promoting the welfare of the people of South Asia. Secretary-General SAARC appreciated Pakistan’s proposal of Health Minister’s video conference.