German FM cuts short Pakistan visit after testing Covid positive

Islambad, Jun 7 (EFE).- German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock cut short her visit to Pakistan on Tuesday after testing positive for Covid-19.

She arrived in the Asian country earlier in the day to meet with her Pakistani counterpart, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

“It is confirmed that she has tested positive for Covid-19 here and decided to cut short her visit but she is still in Pakistan and I cannot give her departure details because of security reasons,” an official from the foreign ministry in Islamabad, who asked not to be named, told EFE.

However, a meeting took place between the two foreign ministers, during which Bhutto underlined the importance of de-freezing Afghanistan’s financial assets abroad to help stabilize its economy, the Pakistani foreign ministry said in a statement.

Afghanistan has been subject to multiple sanctions and its assets have been frozen following the Taliban’s forceful takeover of the country on Aug.15, coinciding with the US withdrawal from the country.

The German counterpart stressed in a statement prior to her arrival in the Pakistan about their intention to help alleviate the suffering of Afghans while increasing the pressure on the Taliban to respect the rights of their people, particularly women.

The two ministers also discussed the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and stressed on the need to find a solution through dialog and diplomacy, according to the Pakistani statement.

They also took the opportunity to discuss the increase in violence in Indian-administered Kashmir, and exchanged views on improving cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, climate change and renewable energy, the statement concluded.

Baerbock testing positive for Covid has raised questions about the continuation of her scheduled visits to Greece and Turkey, especially at a time of increasing tension between the two nations in establishing cooperation to help export wheat out of Ukraine.

In the statement issued by the German Foreign Ministry, Baerbock had urged for both countries to solve the problems through talks and avoid escalating tensions.

For its part, Athens has repeatedly lamented the equidistant posture maintained by Berlin in this conflict between Greece and Turkey, and has called for a clearer stance in favor of the European partner. EFE


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