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Need for developed countries to write off debts of poor countries to tackle COVID-19: Qureshi

Press Trust of India  |  Islamabad 

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday held a telephonic conversation with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian and the two leaders agreed on the need for the developed countries to write off debts of cash-strapped countries like Pakistan to deal with the crisis arising out of the croronavirus pandemic.

Qureshi also called for a "cordinated approach" by the international community to contain the deadly disease that has claimed over 16,000 lives globally.

He also expressed concern over the fragile economic situation in the developing countries due to the coronavirus crisis.

Underlining Prime Minister Imran Khan's call to the developed countries to consider writing off debts of cash-strapped countries like Pakistan, Qureshi sought France's support and understanding, as an important member of the EU, the G-7, and the UN Security Council, on the issue, Pakistan's foreign office said.

COVID-19 had spread to almost all countries of the world, and the situation demanded a coordinated approach by the international community to combat its spread, he said.

He also underscored the need for immediate lifting of sanctions on Iran and extending humanitarian assistance to enable the country to control the spread of the disease.

The French foreign minister agreed with Qureshi's assessment of the situation in Iran and the need to provide debt relief to developing countries, the foreign office said.

Qureshi briefed Le Drian about the measures taken by Pakistan to contain the spread of COVID-19, it said.

The deadly virus, which originated in China's Wuhan, has infected over 890 people and claimed 6 lives in Pakistan.

Globally, the fast spreading disease has claimed over 16,000 lives and over 380,000 people have contracted the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.

Qureshi also lauded the steps being taken by the French authorities to contain the virus and thanked Le Drian for taking care of 13 Pakistani nationals infected in France.

He also suggested that in view of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides may held the next round of Bilateral Political Consultations, scheduled for March 26, via video conference.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 15:34 IST