WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (NNI): Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a meeting with Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman US Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington DC has lauded the United States’ assistance for flood relief, saying that magnitude of the disaster necessitated sustained and long-term cooperation.
The Foreign Minister shared with Chairman Menendez impact of the devastation caused by floods. He underscored that it was a compound crisis with humanitarian, health, food security and economic dimensions.
He urged Chairman Menendez’s personal leadership in mobilising support in the U.S. Congress, which historically had stood by the people of Pakistan during such natural disasters.
The Foreign Minister said that the flood crisis provided an opportunity to Pakistan to build back better, greener and resilient infrastructure. Given the huge investment required, Pakistan viewed the US government and private sector as important partners in this task.
Chairman Menendez conveyed his condolences and sympathies to the people and the government of Pakistan on the devastation caused by the floods.
He assured of his support in enabling Pakistan to overcome this challenge. He said the 75th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic ties between Pakistan and the US was an important milestone.
Both countries had achieved a lot working together.
Chairman Menendez praised the Pakistani diaspora’s role in strengthening Pakistan-US ties. He underscored the importance of Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s regular engagement with the Foreign Minister.
Both sides also discussed peace and stability in the region including Afghanistan, Indian repression in IIOJK and its illegal actions of August 5, 2019.
The Foreign Minister also met Senator James Risch, Ranking Member Senate Foreign Relations Committee and stressed that Pakistan needs much more to recover from the biblical floods.
He said the floods affected 33 million people, more than the population of Australia.
Appreciating the $66.1 million US assistance, he highlighted ‘Pakistan needs much more as initial estimates indicate damages of more than $30 billion.’ Foreign Minister underscored the challenges being faced by the affected population, including impending health catastrophes, particularly outbreaks of malaria, dengue and water-borne diseases in the affected population, food insecurity and more.
The Foreign Minister emphasized Pakistan was a victim of climate change despite being minimally responsible for greenhouse emissions. Pakistan was committed to building back better and greener climate resilient infrastructure but the scale of the calamity necessitated international support.
Referring to ‘people in waist deep waters searching for signs of their devastated towns’, the Senator empathised with the Foreign Minister on the devastation wreaked by the floods.
Both sides also discussed regional issues, including the need for a peaceful, stable Afghanistan.
The Foreign Minister invited the Senator to visit Pakistan to witness first-hand the impact of the floods. NNI