Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday spoke to his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to thank him for his support in battling COVID-19. He expressed his gratitude to the diplomat for releasing 400 Pakistani prisoners and giving the green signal for their subsequent repatriation.
The Foreign Office, in a press release, said: “While exchanging views on the global outbreak of COVID-19, the two foreign ministers agreed on the importance of enhanced bilateral cooperation to jointly address the challenges.”
FM Qureshi apprised Nahyan about the latest situation of the outbreak in Pakistan and the steps being taken to stem the disease. He also informed him of the efforts being made by the government for the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis from the UAE, the statement said.
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The foreign minister informed Al-Nayhan about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s call for a ‘Global Initiative for Debt Relief,’ underscoring the need to enable developing countries to save precious lives and shore up economies.
He said that the recent G20 announcement on debt services suspension would help create fiscal space for developing countries.
The foreign minister shared his concerns on the sinister campaign in India which was aimed at demonising Indian Muslims in the context of the coronavirus, the statement said.
Al-Nayhan thanked Qureshi for his call and appreciated the response of the Pakistan government in tackling the pandemic.
The UAE foreign minister highlighted efforts of the UAE government in controlling the pandemic, including during the month of Ramazan.
He also emphasised that concrete steps would be required globally to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on economies. The two ministers agreed to remain in contact for collaboration in efforts to contain the pandemic and other related matters, the statement added.
Pakistan starts evacuating nationals from UAE
Pakistan had begun evacuating some of its citizens from the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, after the country threatened to review labour ties with countries refusing to take back their nationals during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The first Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight carrying 227 “stranded passengers” from Dubai and other emirates left for Islamabad on Saturday evening, Pakistan’s consulate general in Dubai said in a Twitter post.
It was not clear when other flights would depart. More than 40,000 Pakistanis in the Gulf Arab state have registered with the consulate to return home, two UAE newspapers reported.