ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on Tuesday, emphasised the need for ensuring equitable and affordable supply of Covid-19 vaccine as “global public good” and urged the world powers for upholding multilateralism in dealing with the global pandemic.
The foreign minister stated this in his statement to the six-country Foreign Ministers’ Video Conference on Joint Response to COVID-19 hosted by the State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi.
Foreign ministers of Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, and Acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan also attended the conference.
Welcoming the initiative, Foreign Minister Qureshi said that it was important for all participating countries to enhance cooperation and collaboration in areas such as the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty alleviation, and disaster relief.
He stressed that the pandemic was a common challenge and required joint efforts.
“Pakistan welcomes intensified cooperation between China and South Asian countries in these areas. It is consistent with the socio-economic developmental priorities of Pakistan’s government, and will afford the regional countries the opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences for the well-being of our citizens,” he said.
He added Pakistan, therefore, supports the three concrete proposals put forward by China for regional cooperation with the participation of the countries represented in the conference.
He said that a China-South Asia Emergency Supplies Reserve would help all participating countries to better respond to health emergencies and natural disasters in the future.
“Our countries are vulnerable to climatic changes and natural disasters, which are becoming a frequent phenomenon in our region. The pooling of our resources and expertise would go a long way in timely delivery of assistance to affected areas,” he added.
He said that a China-South Asia Poverty Alleviation Cooperative Development Centre would provide the opportunity to learn from China’s remarkable accomplishment in eradicating extreme poverty from the country – and also serve to exchange best practices among all participating nations which have their own successful experiences in this domain.
It would help build institutional linkages and people-to-people contacts.
“Pakistan remains ready to contribute to this initiative by sharing its own policies and interventions for poverty reduction,” he added.
The foreign minister appreciated the key deliverables of the Conference including China-South Asia Emergency Supplies Reserve, China-South Asia Poverty Alleviation Cooperative Development Centre and China-South Asia E-Commerce Cooperation Forum on Poverty Alleviation in Rural Areas.
He underlined that these initiatives will equip participating countries to better respond to health emergencies and natural disasters, and will be helpful in eradicating poverty.
He underlined that economic and human security stands at the centre of regional development paradigm.
China-Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC), and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) would emerge as the regional hub of trade, connectivity and economic activity, he added.
“We welcome President Xi Jinping’s declaration of making COVID-19 vaccine a ‘global public good.’ We have to ensure equitable and affordable supply of vaccine to everyone, everywhere,” Qureshi said.
He maintained that notions of stigmatization and insinuations on the origin of the virus must be discouraged.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021