ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday reiterated Pakistan’s readiness to host the SAARC Health Ministers’ Meeting and suggested that due to the prevailing global health emergency, a video conference could be organised.
In a telephonic conversation with SAARC Secretary General Esala Ruwan Weerakoon, Qureshi said being a founding member, Pakistan remains committed to the SAARC process and considers it an important platform for regional cooperation.
Congratulating Weerakoon on assuming responsibilities as the 14th Secretary General of SAARC, Qureshi assured him of Pakistan’s full support and expressed the hope that under his experienced stewardship, the SAARC process would be able to move forward.
The foreign minister and the secretary general discussed the challenges faced by South Asian States in the face of the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. The need for joint efforts to deal with the situation was emphasised by both sides.
The foreign minister also reiterated that the proposed SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund may be placed under the supervision of secretary general of SAARC and that the modalities for the Fund’s utilization be finalized through consultations among Member States.
Dilating upon the economic impact of COVID-19 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 shoring up economies.