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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood has stressed the need to ensure equitable and affordable supply of coronavirus vaccine for the developing countries and increased global community cooperation to fight the pandemic.

He stated this, while representing Pakistan in the China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka six-country Vice-Foreign Ministers’ Video Conference on Covid-19, the Foreign Office said.

The conference was hosted by Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao. Vice-Foreign Ministers/Foreign secretaries from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka also participated in the conference.

The foreign secretary appreciated China’s initiative to set-up the forum.

He said that the conference was taking place at a time when the region was battling against the pandemic.

He underscored that the pandemic had inflicted huge human and economic costs on the world, and the global community needed solidarity and cooperation to fight the pandemic.

He underlined that Pakistan and China maintained exemplary cooperation in the fight against COVID-19.

Both countries stood by each other and maintained close communication and coordination.

Despite challenges posed by COVID-19, Pakistan and China carried forward the momentum of development and construction of the CPEC.

He lauded China’s remarkable achievement in eradicating extreme poverty.

Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood stressed the need to ensure equitable and affordable supply of vaccine for the developing countries.

He emphasised that notions of stigmatisation and insinuations on the origin of virus must be dispelled.

“All countries should uphold multilateralism to fight this pandemic with WHO playing the leading role,” he added.

The foreign secretary reiterated that Pakistan would continue to deepen cooperation through this platform with the regional countries, in pursuance of common developmental goals.

He also briefed the participants about the third wave of the COVID-19 in Pakistan, and highlighted the measures taken by the Government of Pakistan to save lives, secure livelihoods, and stimulate the economy.

He added that Pakistan looks forward to the next engagement of the forum at the foreign ministers’ level.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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