CPEC role vital in post COVID-19 period: Qureshi

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ANSAR M BHATTI

ISLAMABAD (DNA)- Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while participating in the Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation: Combating Covid-19 with Solidarity, hosted by China said CPEC, a flagship project of BRI, could play an important role in boosting regional growth and recovery in the post-COVID-19 period.

In that regard, he added, Pakistan and China were taking requisite measures which would help in timely completion of CPEC projects.

Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China, chaired the Conference in which Foreign Ministers of a large number of ‘Belt and Road Initiative’countries participated.

Foreign Minister Qureshi underscored that besides causing deaths the “COVID-19 pandemic had shaken the world and led to economic slowdown, bankruptcies, financial fissures, job-losses and disruption in global supply-chains.” Highlighting the dangers the pandemic had posed to social and political stability, the Foreign Minister said it was time for the world community to “demonstrate unity, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation to fight this pandemic.”

Foreign Minister Qureshi underlined that Pakistan was resolutely confronting the outbreak of COVID-19 and taking all possible measures to strengthen the existing health system. The primary focus remained on both saving lives and saving livelihoods. In order to alleviate the sufferings, Prime Minister Imran Khan had introduced major initiatives includingUS $ 8 billion relief package for the most vulnerable people and Ehsaas Emergency Cash Program to help the needy.

While supporting the idea of ‘Health Silk Road’mooted in the Conference by China, Foreign Minister Qureshi proposed that the COVID-19 vaccine, as and when it was developed, must be declared a “global public good” and made available on an equitable basis.The Foreign Minister appreciated China’s role in organizing the Conference and hoped that it will play an instrumental role in successfully fighting COVID-19.