Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday held a telephonic conversation with his Saudi counterpart during which the two leaders discussed the coronavirus pandemic and underscored the importance of collaborative endeavours to deal with the situation.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Pakistan crossed 2,000, showing a constant upward trajectory despite containment efforts, while Saudi Arabia recorded 1,563 cases, including 10 deaths. The viral infection has so far claimed 26 lives in Pakistan.
During his conversation with Saudi Prince and Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Qureshi expressed deep grief and sorrow over the death of Saudi nationals due to coronavirus and appreciated the timely steps taken by the Royal government to limit the spread of the deadly virus, the Foreign Office said in a statement.
The Saudi authorities have imposed entry and exit bans on Jeddah, Riyadh, Mecca and Medina. The kingdom has also suspended international passenger flights for an indefinite period and also put a bar on workplace attendance.
Qureshi also apprised the Saudi leader about the steps taken by the Pakistani government to contain the viral outbreak. The two leaders underscored the importance of collaborative endeavours to deal with the coronavirus crisis and agreed to stay closely engaged, the statement said.
Qureshi highlighted Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for debt relief and restructuring for developing States to enable them to free up resources to combat the disease, save precious lives and shore up economies.
Congratulating the Saudi Prince on the successful convening of the Virtual G-20 Summit, the Pakistani minister said the Saudi leadership of the G-20 was key to forging a coordinated and coherent global response to the coronavirus crisis, the statement said. The Saudi minister affirmed that a number of measures, including a proposal for debt re-structuring, were deliberated upon during the conference to help tackle the economic consequences of COVID-19, it said.
An extraordinary virtual G20 Leader’s Summit held on March 26 addressed ways in which global leaders will cooperate to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguard the global economy, address international trade disruptions and enhance global cooperation.
The Saudi G20 Presidency hosted the virtual summit. Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chaired the meeting, which was organised with a view to advancing a coordinated global response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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