ISLAMABAD                 -                 Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephone conversation with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani on Thursday and discussed the situation resulting from the rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, and ways to mitigate the crisis.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan is deploying all available resources to curtail the spread of Covid-19 and reduce its impact.

Appreciating the timely measures taken by the Qatari government, he noted with satisfaction that these steps had helped contain the disease in Qatar. The Foreign Minister apprised his Qatari counterpart about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for debt relief and restructuring to enable the developing countries to free up resources to combat the disease and shore up economies.

He also appreciated the role played by the State of Qatar in facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Minister expressed deep concern over the situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, where the coronavirus has spread and fatalities are being reported.

He called for immediate lifting of all restrictions to allow dissemination of information and unfettered supply of medicines, and other essentials.

The Qatari Deputy Prime Minister underscored the importance of learning from the experience of the countries which have managed to control the disease successfully.

He described Pakistan’s call for debt restructuring for developing countries as an important and timely initiative and stated that Qatar is supportive of it.

The two ministers underscored the need for joint efforts to deal with the current challenges and agreed to stay closely engaged on all issues of common interest.

ALSO, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Thursday to discuss matters related to the global outbreak of Covid-19, and prospects of enhanced bilateral cooperation to jointly address the situation.

 While thanking the UAE for timely repatriation of Pakistani citizens from Dubai Airport, the Foreign Minister lauded the measures adopted by the UAE authorities to curtail the spread of the virus. He informed Foreign Minister Al-Nahyan about the latest situation of the outbreak in Pakistan and the steps taken by the government for its containment.

In the wake of the global pandemic and its far-reaching economic consequences, Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted the call by Prime Minister Imran Khan for debt relief and restructuring to create the fiscal space needed to save human lives and shore up economies. In this context, he also underscored the need for close economic cooperation to mitigate the impact of the economic slowdown.

The UAE Foreign Minister thanked Qureshi for his call and extended his condolences on the loss of lives in Pakistan. He noted that concrete steps would be required globally to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the economies.  He underscored that UAE would be looking after its own citizens as well as expatriates in the Emirates against the pandemic. The Foreign Minister also offered UAE’s support in pursuance of distant learning education programs in Pakistan.    The two Ministers agreed to stay in contact for effective containment of the outbreak and share best practices in this regard.