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The AP Interview: Pakistani leader on flood devastation

SHOTLIST:RESTRICTION SUMMARY: ASSOCIATED PRESSNew York - 23 September 20221. Wide Greeting with reporter and Sharif2. SOUNDBITE (English) Edith Lederer, Associated Press and Shahbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan++PARTIALLY COVERED++LEDERER: "What does Pakistan need from the international community in terms, first of all, of funds for rebuilding after the floods in dollars? How much are you talking about or thinking about?"SHARIF: "Well, thank you very much but I don't think it's about sending dollars. It's about the dire situation my countrymen are facing. 33 million people in Pakistan have been directly impacted and 1,500 people have died, even more, including hundreds of children. But look, this is not our fault. This is a climate change-induced disaster. And those who have the resources and God has given them the capacity should come forward and contribute towards our rescue, relief and rehabilitation efforts. That's very important. ASSOCIATED PRESSARCHIVE: Jhal Magsi - 11 September 20223. Various of floodingASSOCIATED PRESSNew York - 23 September 20224. SOUNDBITE (English) Edith Lederer, Associated Press AND Shahbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of PakistanLEDERER: "There have been reports that you've been talking with Russia about importing 3 million tons of wheat."SHARIF: "There is no harm in that."LEDERER: "No, no, I'm I'm just asking, is those talks still going on and what other countries?" SHARIF: "Not 3 million tons, but I think over a million tons."5. SOUNDBITE (English) Shahbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan"We might as well have to import additional tonnages of wheat. And that can come from Russia, which has a large stocks of wheat, provided we have the right price and terms and conditions."6. SOUNDBITE (English) Edith Lederer, Associated Press and Shahbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of PakistanLEDERER: "Would that include India?"SHARIF: "Well, I think there is a legal bottleneck. Now, this is a different subject altogether. India is a neighbor, and Pakistan would very much like to live like a peaceful neighbor with India -- would like to repair our equation with India. Because whether we like it or not, we are neighbors forever. But that has certain prerequisites. The burning issue of Kashmir has to be resolved through peaceful talks. We're able to discuss on talking table like peaceful neighbors, with sincerity of purpose, we will not be able to live in peace. And that is a great shame and embarrassment, because in this day and age, we need our resources to feed our people, to educate them, to provide job opportunities, to provide health opportunities. India can't afford to spend money on buying ammunition and defense equipment, nor can Pakistan."ASSOCIATED PRESSArchive: Kabul, Afghanistan - 31 August 20227. Various of TalibanASSOCIATED PRESSNew York - 23 September 20228. SOUNDBITE (English) Edith Lederer, Associated Press and Shahbaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan++PARTIALLY COVERED++LEDERER: "At what point should the world consider recognizing the Taliban? And what's your advice to the United States about moving forward in Afghanistan?"SHARIF: "This is a golden opportunity to ensure peace and progress in Afghanistan for the prosperity of the people of Afghanistan. And simultaneously, expecting that the interim government of Afghanistan will adhere to the Doha agreement in letter and spirit. They will provide equal opportunities to the people of Afghanistan. And for that, the assets of people should be unfrozen. Why not? And the world should trust the people of Afghanistan that they will move in the right direction."ASSOCIATED PRESSArchive: Kabul, Afghanistan - 13 August 20229. Various of streets and markets in KabulSTORYLINE:Flooding likely worsened by climate change has submerged one-third of Pakistan's territory and left 33 million of its people scrambling to survive, according to Pakistan's prime minister, who says he came to the United Nations this year to tell the world that "tomorrow, this tragedy can fall on some other country."In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, Shahbaz Sharif exhorted world leaders gathered for their annual meeting at the General Assembly to stand together and raise resources.The initial estimate of losses to the economy as a result of the three-month flooding disaster is $30 billion, Sharif said, and he asked U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday to hold a donors' conference quickly. The U.N. chief agreed, Sharif said.Sharif, the brother of disgraced former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, took office in April after a week of turmoil in Pakistan. He replaced Imran Khan, a cricket star turned politician who was one of the country's highest-profile leaders of the past generation and retains broad influence. Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote after 3½ years in office.While climate change likely increased rainfall by up to 50% late last month in two southern Pakistan provinces, global warming wasn't the biggest cause of the country's catastrophic flooding, according to a new scientific analysis. Pakistan's overall vulnerability, including people living in harm's way, was the chief factor. MONEY AND FOODEven before the floods began in mid-June, Pakistan was facing serious challenges from grain shortages and skyrocketing crude oil prices sparked mainly by Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine and the war that has followed. Pakistan may have to import about a million tons of wheat because of the destruction of farmland. He said it could come from Russia, but the country is open to other offers. The country also needs fertilizer because factories involved in their production are closed.RELATIONS WITH NEIGHBORSOne dimension of grain purchases taps into one of Pakistan's most existential issues — its relationship with neighboring India. Would Pakistan consider buying grain from India if needed? Sharif said that notion is impeded by "a legal bottleneck" — Kashmir, the Himalayan territory claimed by both countries but divided between them. It has been at the center of two of the four wars India has fought with Pakistan and China."India is a neighbor, and Pakistan would very much like to live like a peaceful neighbor with India," Sharif said. "But that has certain prerequisites. India has to understand that unless and until the burning issue of Kashmir is resolved through peaceful talks ... like peaceful neighbors, with the sincerity of purpose, we will not be able to live in peace.""And that is a great shame and embarrassment," he said. "Because in this day and age, we need our resources to feed our people, to educate them, to provide job opportunities, to provide health opportunities. India can't afford to spend money on buying ammunition and defense equipment. Nor can Pakistan."On the other side of Pakistan, to the west, sits Afghanistan — a place that shares geography, strategic interests and much ethnic heritage with Sharif's nation. Sharif said its Taliban rulers, who have been in power for a year, have "a golden opportunity to ensure peace and progress" for the people by adhering to the Doha Agreement, which the nation's previous, more internationally minded government signed in February 2020 with former U.S. president Donald Trump's administration. The Taliban should provide equal opportunities including education through college for girls, job opportunities for women, respect for human rights, and for that Afghan assets should be unfrozen, the prime minister said.AP Video shot by Robert Bumsted and David MartinProduced by Robert Bumsted===========================================================Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: info@aparchive.com(ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory.

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