On the initiative of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ilham Aliyev, an online Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group in response to COVID-19 has today been held. Held under the motto "United against COVID-19", the Summit focused on the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made an opening speech at the summit. He said that the COVID-19 global pandemic had a negative impact on all countries. “We can overcome COVID-19 with mutual support, self-control and joint efforts only. Noting that this was the second summit initiated by Azerbaijan, the President recalled the Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States on COVID-19 chaired by Azerbaijan on 10 April.
Providing information about the timely and necessary preventive measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Azerbaijan, the head of state stressed that the priority for us during the pandemic has been to protect human health and ensure their social protection. “As a result of all the measures taken in the country, it has been possible to prevent mass infections. Over the past three weeks, there has been a positive trend between the number of people infected and those recovering in Azerbaijan.”
President Ilham Aliyev also highlighted the work done to ensure economic stability in Azerbaijan during the pandemic, solve employment problems and maintain macroeconomic and financial stability, noting that a socioeconomic support package worth 3.5 billion manats had been adopted for the purpose.
As an example of global solidarity as members of the Non-Aligned Movement, the head of state proposed to hold a special video conference of the UN General Assembly at the level of heads of state and government dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then the President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said that no country could overcome this difficulty on its own. “As the United Nations, we are very pleased to support such initiatives and want to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We would also like to see inequality among all states and nations eliminated.”
The event then featured a video address by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The Secretary General thanked President Ilham Aliyev for the initiative. The address emphasized that the scale and complexity of this crisis demand a coordinated global response. “The only answer is brave, visionary and collaborative leadership. With two-thirds of UN member states, the Non-Aligned Movement, has a critical role to play in forging global solidarity.”
Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus gave a high assessment to Azerbaijan's support for the organization. He thanked the government and people of Azerbaijan for the financial support of the WHO in the amount of $5 million and expressed his gratitude to President Ilham Aliyev for providing an additional $5 million to the organization. Emphasizing the importance of global solidarity and international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, the Director-General said that efforts should focus on long-term multilateral action covering various areas at the level of society as a whole.
Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat also thanked President Ilham Aliyev for organizing the summit and said that the role of the Non-Aligned Movement in the fight against the pandemic was undeniable and highly important. “Our relationship with the UN requires us to work hand in hand. When it comes to the global fight against this virus, we must put aside any political boundaries and any ideology. By working together, we must demonstrate that we are states that serve great goals.”
In a video address, the EU High Representative and European Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell said that COVID-19 showed how interconnected different parts of the world were and that it was a global call for awakening. He welcomed the Non-Aligned Movement's initiative to convene a summit, saying that defeating the pandemic required a global approach and coordinated response.
The summit was also joined by heads of state and government from more than 40 member states.
Given that the Non-Aligned Movement includes 120 countries, the summit was held in the format of a Contact Group with the participation of countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America based on the principle of geographical representation.
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