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Pakistan to receive 15mn vaccine doses by May 2021

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Pakistan would receive 15 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, to be delivered by May 2021, under COVAX, a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

This was announced by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in a meeting with Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Berlin on Monday, during which they also held discussions on mitigating the impact of COVID-19.

Germany is the co-founder and biggest contributor to COVAX, a global initiative led by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) and others

Foreign Minister Qureshi is on an official visit to Berlin on the invitation of his German counterpart from April 12 to 13, a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here said.

Extending a warm welcome, Foreign Minister Maas, termed the visit by Foreign Minister Qureshi as a great honour, in the face of the challenges posed by COVID-19, which had failed to deter him.

He hoped that the visit would further strengthen and diversify the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Germany, especially in the wake of the celebrations commemorating the 70 years of bilateral relations, this year.

​The two Foreign Ministers had an in-depth and comprehensive exchange of views on the entire gamut of relations and the possibilities for further deepening this cooperation, especially, in the fields of trade and investment, science and technology, alternate energy, education and legal migration.

Foreign Minister Qureshi briefed his German counterpart about the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan shifting focus from geo-politics to geo-economics and highlighted three pillars of the government’s overarching policy, namely: peace, development partnerships and connectivity.

Regional and international developments of mutual interest including Pakistan-India relations, grave human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Afghanistan peace process, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and opportunities for investments in Special Economic Zones (SEZs), EU DisinfoLab, and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) were also discussed.

Foreign Minister Qureshi also announced the establishment of a new Consulate General of Pakistan in Munich to harness the economic potential between the two countries and facilitate the Pakistan-origin Diaspora, especially in the South of Germany.

He also highlighted the inordinate visa delays being faced by Pakistani students, businessmen and families and requested for their early resolution.

​ Foreign Minister Qureshi expressed the hope that his visit to Germany would turn a new page in the relationship and set in motion a series of substantive activities/ engagements leading up to the visit of the Prime Minister.

He also extended an invitation to Foreign Minister Maas to visit Pakistan, which he accepted.

​Following this meeting, Foreign Minister Qureshi also met Wolfgang Schauble, the President of German Bundestag (National Assembly).

The Foreign Minister briefed him in detail about Afghanistan, India-Pakistan situation, grave human rights violations in IIOJK and COVID.

The two leaders also discussed ways to promote Parliamentary exchanges in order to strengthen the democratic ideals between the two countries.

The President of German Bundestag greatly appreciated and agreed to the proposal of the Foreign Minister to hold bilateral Parliamentary exchanges, online, pending the resolution of the COVID pandemic.

These virtual sessions could finalize the agenda for formal meetings to be held when in-person meetings begin as Corona situation improves.

Joe Kaeser, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Siemens Energy also called on the Foreign Minister and discussed areas of potential investment in Pakistan and transfer of technology particularly in the power sector.

The Foreign Minister invited Mr. Kaeser to Pakistan to work on concrete projects on optimizing the usage of electricity which would help in bringing down the electricity tariffs, to which he agreed. – APP

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