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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said stolen assets of developing countries must be returned immediately and more importantly unconditionally.

He was virtually addressing the UN Economic and Social Council Forum on Financing for Development today.

The Prime Minister called for a moratorium on the exorbitant claims against some developing countries in investment disputes and unequal and exploitative investment agreements should be cancelled and revised.

He welcomed the proposal from the IMF Managing Director to create 650 billion dollars in new SDRs, and appreciate the support for this from the largest shareholders, including the US,China, the EU and Japan. He said the IMF, the World Bank and other development banks now have an ample capacity to enlarge concessional financing for developing countries and the forthcoming IDA replenishment should be enlarged to 60 billion dollars. He said developing countries should also be able to borrow from the markets at the prevailing low interest rates which are available to developed countries.

Imran Khan said he proposed a Global Initiative on Debt Relief and it is good that the G-20's Debt Suspension has been extended. He said its scope needs to be enlarged to encompass all vulnerable countries, especially the Small Island Developing States.

Talking about climate change, Imran Khan said developed nations must fulfil their commitments under the Paris Agreement and mobilize 100 billion dollars annually in climate finance as they have promised. He said fifty percent of this must be devoted to adaptation programs of developing countries.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said the international community must ensure that the coronavirus vaccine was available to everyone, everywhere and as soon as possible, stressing that if it was not done, the virus will roam around and come back.

He said Pakistan contained the first two waves of the virus through a policy of “smart lockdowns.” “We implemented an eight billion dollar relief package to support the poor and vulnerable, and to keep our economy afloat at the same time.”

The Prime Minister remarked, “Now, unfortunately we are facing the third wave of the virus. Insha’Allah, we hope to defeat this wave as well. We need a lot of luck, as everyone does.”

Production of the vaccine must be ramped up. Patent and technology-transfer restrictions should be waived to enable this, he said adding, “Vaccine nationalism and export restrictions are deplorable; as is the use of the vaccine to advance national foreign policy objectives.”

He emphasized that the forum was an important opportunity to adopt decisions on ways to mobilize the money needed by developing countries to recover from the COVID-induced recession and restore them on the path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. NNI