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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office on Friday gave a cautious reaction to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent statement in which he had urged Pakistan to seek debt relief from China, saying that best way is to cope with the situation is through enhanced understanding and cooperation rather than making comments that may create misunderstanding.

Speaking at his weekly media briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said that Pakistan together with the United Nations will launch a second flash appeal on October 4 in Geneva for which preparations are underway and France has also pledged to co-host the launch of the appeal.

When his response was sought on the recent comments by US Secretary of State Blinken in which he had urged Pakistan to seek debt relief from China, the spokesperson declined to make comments on the US Secretary of State’s remarks.

However, he stated that “the best way for us is to be able to cope with this situation and it is going to be through enhanced understanding and cooperation by our partners, rather than comments that might create some misunderstanding.”

Blinken urges Pakistan to seek China debt relief after floods

“I’m not here to comment on the comments of other government [authorities]. I think it needs to be understood that we are in a pretty challenging situation that has arisen in the wake of the unprecedented floods and the devastations that have been caused by this calamity. We have seen a natural and a logical response because it was clear that despite Pakistan deploying all our national resources and capacity, it was beyond our own resources to respond effectively to the situation,” he stated.

“That’s why we see the spontaneity and the stream of international assistance that is coming to Pakistan from many of our friends, partners, and the international community. I think, the US and the Chinese government, are leading this effort. And we see the amount of assistance…[and] the sincerity with which it is being provided, which is very evident. From our perspective, we appreciate all this assistance and support coming in. We appreciate the understanding that the international community has shown to Pakistan,” he further stated.

About the Chinese debt to Pakistan, he pointed out that there was some misperception which the government of Pakistan has already clarified in the past. About another comment by the US Secretary of State with regard to Pakistan having a “responsible” normal relations with India, Asim Iftikhar said that Jammu and Kashmir is a key issue between Pakistan and India, which is a major impediment in the way of developing friendly relationship between the two neighbours.

He said that the resolution of the Kashmir dispute in line with the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions is vital for sustainable peace and development in the South Asia region.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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