Pakistan seeks debt relief to fight COVID-19

Islamabad: Countries like Pakistan, which are burdened by external debt, should be provided relief in repayment of loans so that they could focus on dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Qureshi made this request while talking to his German counterpart Heiko Maas over the phone on Saturday, reports Dawn news.

He told his German counterpart that united efforts were needed for dealing with the pandemic that has emerged as a major challenge for the entire world.

Maas assured Qureshi that he would raise the issues of debt relief for economically struggling countries and the international sanctions against Iran at the upcoming G7 meeting and the European Union Foreign Ministers’ Conference next week.

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Describing the situation in Iran as extremely serious, Qureshi said that Iran had been the worst-hit country in the region. Therefore, he said, sanctions on Iran should be lifted immediately so that it could use its own resources to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Qureshi asked the permanent members of the UN Security Council to remove US sanctions against it (Iran) for aiding its fight against the infectious disease.

Qureshi’s remarks comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan rose to 645 with three deaths.

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