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FM stresses global unity to triumph against corona

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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has emphasized on unity and sense of purpose at international level to triumph against COVID-19.
Addressing a virtual Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting on Wednesday, Qureshi said in context of COVID-19, there must neither be discrimination against any segment of society on religious, racial or ethnic grounds, nor should any community be stigmatized and targeted.
Qureshi emphasised that tackling terrorism and extremism must continue to be a priority, but terrorism-related allegations must not be used as a political tool to malign and victimise any country or religion.
The foreign minister called on the international community to condemn and hold accountable the perpetrators of state terrorism, including against people under illegal occupation. He also stressed the importance of rejecting xenophobic ideologies including Islamophobia.
“COVID-19 continues to assault lives and livelihoods, and paralyse civilisation,” said the foreign minister. “On this sombre occasion, I wish to offer heartfelt condolences on the ongoing losses. Our travails are common, and our grief is shared. May I also acknowledge with appreciation, the initiative by the Russian Federation to convene this timely meeting,” the minister stated.
Qureshi said that he was confident that this video-conference would galvanise the SCO into forging a stronger and more coherent front against the pandemic.
“While Pakistan welcomes the debt restructuring measures initiated by the World Bank, IMF and the G20, we feel more will be required,” he added.
“The Prime Minister’s ‘Global Initiative on Debt Relief’ for developing countries aims at a comprehensive plan of action of debt relief and restructuring to free up resources, shore up economies and promote sustainable growth.”
SCO’s role in coordinating Pakistan’s response to collectively confront this challenge will be crucial, he stressed, adding, “While we grapple with COVID-19, other challenges to regional security must continue to command our attention.”
“The US-Taliban Peace Agreement has been a landmark development that raises the hope of restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan after long decades of war,” he said.
The minister further observed, “It is now for the Afghan leadership to seize the historic opportunity and work out a comprehensive and inclusive settlement.”
Through the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, SCO can play its due role for peace and security at this juncture, Qureshi suggested.
“We welcome the proposed SCO Agreement on Cooperation in countering epidemics as well as the MoU between SCO and WHO. We reaffirm Pakistan’s commitment to join the collective endeavours,” he observed.
The foreign minister said there should be frequent and regular interaction among our ministries of health to share best practices and learn from each other’s experience. He said, “We should develop mechanisms for pooling scientific and technical resources for joint research on a vaccine and possible cure for the virus.”
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that SCO countries should exchange views and perspectives on supporting the economically vulnerable sections of the society.
He said Pakistan’s proposal for the establishment of an SCO Joint Working Group on Poverty Alleviation and Center of Excellence merits consideration. He said, “We should enhance further cooperation between our hospitals and laboratories and work on formalizing the SCO Hospital Alliance.” – TLTP