FM Qureshi terms G-20 countries’ decision as historic, timely

NSC announcement reconfirms PTI stance, Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said the G-20 countries decision to suspend the developing countries’ debt payments for one year will provide fiscal space to these countries including Pakistan to cope with the situation arising out of coronavirus.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad today (Thursday), he termed the decision as historic and timely.
He said seventy-six countries including Pakistan will simultaneously benefit from this debt relief and its application will start from the 1st of May.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the relief is on both interest payment and the principal amount.
The Foreign Minister said it will have substantial impact and provide much needed fiscal space to Pakistan which will be used for the wellbeing and welfare of the Pakistani people especially the poor and disadvantaged segments of society.
He said it is also step forward to give impetus to government’s relief oriented programs such as Ehsaas Cash Emergency program under which 144 billion rupees have been earmarked for disbursement amongst 12 million deserving families.
The Foreign Minister pointed out it was the fourth major global initiative of Pakistan over the last two years led by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He said other three global initiatives included those of climate change, Islamophobia and illicit financial flows.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi reminded that Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the global initiative for debt relief on the 12th of this month, appealing the global leaders and financial institutions as well as the UN Secretary General to restructure debt of the developing countries to enable them to effectively handle the situation.
He pointed out that the coronavirus had affected developing countries the most because of contraction of their exports and remittances.
He said this appeal of the Prime Minister was appreciated by the UN Secretary General and the IMF.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the International Monetary Fund is also meeting today and is expected to approve 1.4 billion dollars fiscal liquidity for Pakistan. He said this amount will also be used in the relief efforts.
The Foreign Minister said coronavirus is a global phenomenon and larger consensus is required to deal with it. He said it was with the same spirit that Pakistan took part in the SAARC video conference on Covid-19 hosted by India regardless of the fact that New Delhi always tried to undermine the regional peace process.
Responding to a question, the Foreign Minister said the process of bringing back stranded Pakistan from abroad will pick up momentum in the days ahead as all the necessary arrangements have been made. He said our missions abroad are providing all possible assistance to these Pakistanis.
When asked about the US decision to halt the World Health Funding, the Foreign Minister said the US should review its decision saying it is time for cooperation. He said cutting the assistance of the WHO will only add to the difficulties of the world body at this critical time.


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