Mar 23, 2020, 5:17 PM
Journalist ID: 2053
News Code: 83724989
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Pakistan FM approaches EU to lift anti-Iran sanctions amid COVID-19 outbreak

Islamabad, March 23, IRNA -- Foreign Minister of Pakistan has written a letter to the European Union seeking its attention towards the problems of Iranian people due to the US sanctions amid COVID-19 outbreak.

Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his letter to High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, said Coronavirus (COVID-19) is now a global pandemic that has affected nearly all countries of the world.

“These are extremely testing times for the entire humanity and, therefore, it becomes all the more important for the international community to join hands in dealing with this menace,” he said.

The Pakistani foreign minister said while COVID-19 is a humanitarian crisis and its impact on economies of the developing countries will be particularly detrimental, the full ramifications will unfold and become clear only in the weeks and months to come.

“While the economically-advanced countries have the resources to divert huge funds towards combating COVID-19, the developing countries are not able to do so due to their inherent economic vulnerabilities and the presence of weaker segments in their societies. The most susceptible sections of the society will be hit the hardest by COVID-19,” he said.

Qureshi said all our countries are making their best efforts to grapple with myriad challenges posed by the pandemic.

“We recognize that Iran has been facing serious constraints in its efforts to effectively contain the Coronavirus outbreak due to the existing sanctions. Prime Minister Imran Khan has underlined that lifting the sanctions on Iran in this particular context is a humanitarian imperative. Indeed, we believe, the international community must take urgent steps to extend the requisite support and humanitarian assistance to enable Iran to save precious human lives,” he said in the letter.

He said secondly, the UN Secretary-General has highlighted the importance of global solidarity and focusing on protecting the most vulnerable.

“For his part, Prime Minister Imran Khan has underscored the importance of relieving the burden of debt-ridden developing countries to enable them to devote requisite resources for saving lives and stemming economic decline,” said the foreign minister.

He said it is "our sincere hope" that these matters will receive the most serious consideration of the EU Foreign Ministers as they hold their next meeting through video-conference on 23. March 2020.

“The forthcoming G-7 Ministerial would be another important occasion to reflect on these challenges and the world community’s response,” Qureshi noted.

He said it cannot be stressed enough that finding thoughtful solutions to these urgent problems would go a long way in alleviating immense human suffering and in restoring trust in the value of multilateral endeavors.

Pakistan, Maldives FMs discuss Iran sanctions

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday held a telephonic conversation with Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives on COVID-19 Pandemic and sanctions on Iran.

According to the foreign ministry statement, the Foreign Minister briefed his Maldivian counterpart on Pakistan’s call for the 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.

It said the two Ministers held detailed discussions on the situation arising from COVID-19 and 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 the Maldives would soon overcome the current economic difficulties, due to suspension of tourism and other activities.

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.


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