Non-Aligned Movement Virtual Summit

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May 8, 2020

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By Countercurrents Collective

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Virtual Summit “United against COVID-19” was held on Monday, May 4, via videoconference.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev chaired the NAM summit. The meeting took place in the format of the Contact Group, which includes regional representatives.

The Republic of Azerbaijan convoked the meeting as president of the Movement for the period 2019-2022, given the need for concerted and effective responses to current global challenges.

According to AzerNews, the head of the Presidency’s Foreign Policy Affairs Department, Hikmat Hajiyev, emphasized the importance of strengthening international solidarity, and mobilizing efforts of both states and international organizations in the COVID-19 battle.

“We hope the NAM Contact Group Summit will make a significant contribution to the mobilization of efforts, strengthening solidarity and multilateralism among member countries in the fight against the new coronavirus,” stated Hikmat Hajiyev, as reported by the source.

A communiqué issued by the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement, March 25, 2020, in New York, expressed “concern over the rapid spread of COVID-19, which poses a major challenge to humanity” and noted “in the face of this type of global emergency, a spirit of solidarity must be at the heart of our efforts.”

The statement added:

“At this juncture, the enactment and application of unilateral coercive measures against member states of the Movement has an impact on the capacity of states to respond efficiently to procure medical equipment and supplies to adequately treat the population of entire peoples in the face of this pandemic” and expressed the long-standing NAM principle – reaffirmed by the heads of state and government, as well as by the foreign ministers at numerous Summits and Ministerial Meetings – of “strong condemnation of the promulgation and application of unilateral coercive measures against member states of the Movement, which violates the United Nations Charter and international law.”

Another NAM communiqué released April 9, 2020, extended the organization’s full support to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the leadership of its Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“It is time to avoid the politicization of the virus and to set aside all political ideologies and discrimination for the good of humanity; it is time for global unity and the redoubling of international solidarity and multilateral cooperation to ensure that that our common enemy, COVID-19, with serious health and socio-economic consequences, is defeated sooner rather than later,” said the document.

The President of the Republic of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez in his statement during NAM virtual summit denounced the terrorist attack with an assault rifle and over 30 rounds that struck Cuban embassy in Washington on April 30.

He demanded from the U.S. government a thorough and swift investigation, harsh sanctions and security measures and guarantees for the Cuban diplomatic missions in U.S. territory, as it must do under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The Cuban President said: NAM has shown its relevance in the present situation.

He said:

COVID-19 has proven to be a global challenge. It goes beyond borders, ideologies or levels of development. Therefore, the answer to it must also be global and joint and it should put political differences aside.

It is not possible to predict exactly the extent of its consequences. The high figures of infected persons and many human deaths are showing its devastating impact in an increasingly interconnected world which, still, has not been able to make use of such interconnection for the sake of solidarity and is paying today the price for its inability to correct serious social disbalance. It should be stated openly: Had we made solidarity global, as it was done with the market, the story would have been different.

There is a lack of solidarity and cooperation. Those values cannot be replaced with profit making, which is almost the only incentive for those who worship the market while forgetting about the value of human life.

He said:

An analysis of the events that have disturbed humanity in the last four months must include the costly mistakes of neoliberal policies, which led to a downsizing of state management and capabilities, excessive privatizations and a neglect of the majorities.

This pandemic has evidenced the fragility of a fractured and excluding world. Not even those who are most fortunate and powerful would survive in the absence of those whose work create and sustain wealth.

The multiple crises it is bringing about foretell ravaging and lasting effects for the economy and all spheres of society.

The Cuban President said:

The pandemic is worsening the pressing problems in a planet riddled with deep inequalities and where 600 million people are living in dire proverty and nearly half of the population have no access to basic health services, whose management is defined by the market and not by the noble goal of saving lives.

In the meantime, global military expenditures are over 1.9 trillion dollars, of which more than 38%, or 732 billion, were appropriated in the United States in 2020.

I wish to share with you this quotation from the Commander-in-Chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz: “Instead of spending so much in the development of increasingly sophisticiated weapons, those having resources for that should promote medical research and put the results of science at the service of humanity, thus creating tools for health and life and not for death.”

he said:

Let us call, together with the Secretary General of the United Nations, for the end of wars, including non-conventional ones, so as to safeguard the right to peace.

We reject the recent and serious military threats by the government of the United States against the sisterly Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

We reaffirm our solidarity with the government and the people of Nicaragua and reject measures against their right to wellbeing, security and peace.

The attempts at re-imposing the neocolonial past to Our America by publicly declaring the validity of the Monroe Doctrine are running counter the Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace.

In this complex situation, the United States is attacking multilateralism and it disqualifies unjustly the role of international organizations, particularly the World Health Organization.

He said:

We must be aware that assistance from the industrialized North shall be scarce. We have to complement each other, share what we have, support ourselves mutually, and learn from successful experiences. A useful choice could be resuming in the future the annual meetings of NAM health ministers in the framework of the World Health Assembly.

Cuba is ready to share its experiences with the NAM countries, to which it is bound by historic ties of friendship.

He mentioned the ruthless tightening of the US economic, commercial and financial blockade policy aimed at bringing Cuba’s trade and access to fuels and foreign currency to a full standstill.

He said:

Through tremendous effort and sacrifice, Cuba has been able under such conditions to keep in place our universal and free public health system that has dedicated and highly qualified professionals who enjoy world prestige in spite of the crude and slanderous campaigns by powerful adversaries.

Right away, Cuba has drawn a plan including measures based on our main strengths: A well-structured State that has the responsibility to protect the health of its citizens and a society with mass involvement as to decision-making and giving solutions to its problems.

The work resulting from years of resource appropriations to develop and strengthen health services and sciences has been put to a test and the evolution of the epidemic in Cuba in the last two months is showing the good impact social investment policies may have when facing the biggest and most unexpected challenges.

In spite of the huge constraints being imposed on us by the protracted U.S. economic, commercial and financial blockade, that are posing a big daily challenge to keeping our public health system in place and facing this pandemic in particular, Cuba has ensured the right to health of the Cuban people with the involvement of society as a whole.

Scientific development has allowed us to treat different communicable diseases successfully both in Cuba and in other nations. This time, the pharmaceutical industry has expanded the manufacturing of drugs of proven efficacy to prevent and deal with COVID-19 that we have shared with other countries.

He said:

In response to requests that were made, in the last month 25 new medical brigades of Cuban health professionals have joined the efforts in 23 countries to fight the pandemic. They have joined those who have already been providing services in 59 States, many of which are NAM members.

He reiterated:

Cuba shall not give up its solidarity vocation even when, out of political reasons, the U.S. government continues attacking and obstructing the international cooperation being provided by our country, which jeopardizes access to health services for tens of millions of people.

We have a responsibility to combine our willingness and efforts to face this immense challenge.

Let us promote international cooperation and solidarity. Our endeavor shall be decisive.

Let us do it for the right of our peoples to health, peace and development, fully abiding by the founding principles of NAM. Let us do it for life.

6 May 2020

Source: countercurrents.org

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