Baku (ANTARA) - Azerbaijan held a summit-level meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and post-pandemic global recovery on Thursday in Baku City.

In his speech, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, as chair of the NAM, took the initiative to call for global efforts for fighting COVID-19.

"As a chair of the NAM, our aim is to defend justice and international law. Right after the beginning of the pandemic, it was NAM that took the initiative to mobilize global efforts to fight COVID-19," he said.

NAM's leadership in mobilizing efforts to fight the pandemic once again demonstrated the influence and responsibility of the movement, he added.

"We initiated the NAM Online Summit at the head of state and government level in May 2020. The summit decided to form a Non-Aligned Movement Task Force to work out a database. The World Health Organization (WHO) uses this database as a reference point to identify the needs of NAM member states in overcoming the pandemic," he said.

President Aliyev had also suggested convening a UN General Assembly Special Session at the leaders’ level. The proposal had gained huge support from UN member states.

The special session was held in December 2020 and was attended by over 70 heads of state and governments. It stressed the need for increased international solidarity and acknowledged NAM's leadership in the fight against the coronavirus.

“We considered ‘vaccine nationalism’ pursued by some wealthy countries, among others, as a serious impediment to countering the pandemic. Subsequently, NAM initiated two resolutions for equitable and universal access to vaccines for all countries adopted in the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly in 2021,” Aliyev informed.

He said that Azerbaijan provided coronavirus-related financial and humanitarian support to more than 80 countries, most of which were from the NAM family, either through bilateral channels or the WHO.

The summit was attended by heads of state and governments of about 70 countries, including the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Iraq, and Libya; the vice presidents of Cuba, Gabon, and Tanzania; and the prime ministers of Algeria and Kenya.

It was also joined by high-level representatives from several countries and heads of international organizations, such as secretary-general of the World Tourism Organization (WTO), Zurab Pololikashvili; director general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), António Vitorino; director-general of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UN Geneva), Tatiana Valovaya; secretary general of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), Khusrav Noziri; as well as ministers; deputy ministers; ambassadors; and others.

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Reporter: Azis Kurmala
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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