|The Special ASEAN-Russia foreign ministers' meeting on COVID-19 was held online on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — ASEAN foreign ministers and their Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov pledged to further cooperation in response to COVID-19 on Wednesday as they held a special online meeting on the pandemic.
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh attended the meeting as Việt Nam held the chairmanship of the 10-member Southeast Asian regional bloc in 2020.
During the meeting, foreign ministers have shared their concerns over the complicated and increasing spread of coronavirus and shared with each other updates regarding their country’s situation and response.
They have agreed to step up information and experience sharing, especially epidemiology updates, forecasting models, technical guidance and prevention methods against the coronavirus.
The diplomats have stressed their commitments to expand partnerships in beefing up diseases readiness capacity and response in accordance with World Health Organisation (WHO)’s International Health Regulations (2005).
ASEAN and Russia’ top diplomats at the gathering applauded the setting up of the ASEAN COVID-19 response fund and regional reserve warehouses of medical supplies.
ASEAN foreign ministers hoped Russia would contribute to the common goal via the mobilisation of and using resources from the ASEAN-Russian Federation Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund.
They stressed the need for cooperation to drive up production of and equitable access to vaccine and treatment drugs for COVID-19.
ASEAN members’ foreign ministers and their Russian counterpart have also pledged to facilitate repatriation of each other’s stranded citizens, while guaranteeing safety for each other’s citizens living, studying and working in their country.
The delegates underlined that as the entire international community is focusing resources and attention on fighting the pandemic, there is a need for maintenance of rules-based order and international law in the goal of peace, security and order.
They have voiced their support for ASEAN centrality in regional structures and in ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Defence Minister's Meeting and dialogue partners (ADMM+), and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov lauded the efforts of ASEAN in dealing with COVID-19 , while also stressing the role of the United Nations and its functional agencies in co-ordinating a global response.
Russia is willing to share its experience and information regarding vaccine and treatment drugs, as well as help enhance medical capacity of ASEAN member countries.
Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh during the meeting shared updates on Việt Nam’s coronavirus situation, stressing that the country has gone more than two months without any domestic community infections.
He noted that the robust and timely measures that the Vietnamese Government has deployed and continued to implement have seen positive results in containing the pandemic.
The Vietnamese top diplomat reiterated that Việt Nam is pursuing the double goals of preventing the virus spread while promoting economic recovery and growth.
Likewise, the ASEAN bloc has shown the highest political commitment and enhanced co-ordination and mutual response in line with the theme of “Cohesive and Responsive” for this year, he continued.
Minh reaffirmed that Việt Nam would strengthen cooperation with all countries and international organisations, including Russia and World Health Organisation (WHO), to contain and repel the pandemic.
He has also asked ASEAN and Russia to further collaborate to seek ways to “co-exist” with the risks of coronavirus.
In the current context, each country should honour their responsibility in maintaining peace, stability, security and international law. — VNS