Baku, May 5 (IANS) A summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the format of a contact group was held through videoconference in a bid to boost coordination among member states in fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The summit, themed “United against COVID-19,” was initiated by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, the current chairman of the NAM, Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
In his opening speech, President Aliyev gave an insight into what the Azerbaijani government had done to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“We took immediate and necessary preventive action,” said the president, adding that the measures included the closure of schools, prohibition of mass gatherings, and the imposition of a nationwide lockdown and social distancing.
The Azerbaijani leader also affirmed Azerbaijan’s readiness to share its experience with other Non-Aligned Movement member states.
In this context, Aliyev said Azerbaijan was allocating US $5 million in a donation to the World Health Organization to help the neediest NAM member states from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
President of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande reiterated the UN’s commitment to finding solutions to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a video message, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hailed the role of the Non-Aligned Movement in shaping global solidarity. He also stressed the importance of addressing the socio-economic consequences of COVID-19.
Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus affirmed WHO’s support for the Non-Aligned Movement and its member states in their fight against the deadly virus. He noted the significance of uniting against COVID-19, adding that no country, regardless of its size, resources, and financial means, can fight the pandemic alone.
Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat said African countries were ready for cooperation in the fight against the virus. He commended China and Cuba for their role in supporting African countries’ response. “I would like to highlight support provided by China and Cuba. They supplied us with medical equipment, which was delivered to African countries.”
The virtual summit, which featured the NAM heads of state and government, ended with the adoption of a declaration in which the member countries expressed full support to the UN chief’s plans and initiatives to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. They also called on the member states of the United Nations to “enhance their cooperation at the national, regional and international levels to confront and combat this scourge.”
The NAM comprises 120 countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America. The organisation’s 18th summit took place in Azerbaijan last October, which saw the country take over the presidency of the movement from Venezuela for a three-year term from 2019 to 2022.