ISLAMABAD              -              Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a telephone conversation with his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid, yesterday to discuss the coronavirus situation.

The two Ministers held detailed discussions on ways to enhance cooperation to combat the threat posed by the rapid spread of the pandemic.

Foreign Minister Qureshi commended the Government of Maldives for effective measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and hoped Maldives would soon overcome the current economic difficulties, due to suspension of tourism and other activities. 

Apprising Foreign Minister Shahid of the steps being taken by Pakistan, he indicated that all Maldives nationals in Pakistan were safe, and will be looked after by the Government of Pakistan. 

Foreign Minister Qureshi sought the Maldivian Foreign Minister’s assistance for four Pakistani tourists stranded in Maldives, said a foreign ministry statement.

The Foreign Minister lauded the proposal by the President of Maldives to develop a comprehensive regional strategy to combat Covid-19, and in this context, reiterated Pakistan’s offer to host SAARC Health Ministers’ Conference soon. 

The Foreign Minister also briefed his Maldivian counterpart on Pakistan’s call for lifting of sanctions against Iran in light of the health emergency in that country, as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s proposal for restructuring of developing world debt to free up resources to enable the developing countries to save lives and shore up their economies.  Felicitating Maldives on its re-joining the Commonwealth of Nations, Foreign Minister Qureshi reaffirmed that Pakistan attached great importance to brotherly relations with the Maldives.  The Foreign Minister accepted the Maldivian Foreign Minister’s invitation to visit Maldives at an opportune time.