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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has affirmed its commitment to the goals and principles of the Non-Aligned Movement, and in particular the need for a global united front in the battle against COVID-19.
Speaking during the movement’s virtual summit on Monday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said efforts are continuing in the Kingdom to enhance the nation’s rapid response to the coronavirus crisis and limit its health, economic and humanitarian effects.
He noted that Saudi Arabia acted quickly as the crisis escalated to take preventive action and implement precautionary measures for the protection and safety of all its citizens and residents. The Kingdom holds the presidency of the G20 this year and, in an effort to enhance international cooperation, Saudi authorities took the initiative by calling an extraordinary virtual summit of the G20 leaders to enlist their support for international efforts to tackle the crisis.
“This successful G20 summit resulted in some important decisions to confront the effects on the global economy,” Prince Faisal said.
He added that that as an extension of these initiatives, King Salman pledged $500 million to support global efforts to tackle COVID-19. The donation, the prince said, will assist international organizations that specialize in enhancing preparedness, responding to emergencies, developing diagnostic tools and vaccines, and ensuring adequate protective equipment is available for health-care workers.
The Kingdom also gave $10 million to the World Health Organization in support of its work to combat the pandemic, Prince Faisal said.
He also highlighted the fact that the Kingdom continues to provide health assistance to many countries affected by the virus, including $38 million of aid to help the legitimate Yemeni government face the pandemic and alleviate the suffering of its people.
In addition, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) recently signed an agreement with UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees to provide supplies and medical equipment that will benefit more than 2 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Prince Faisal stressed the need to enhance and intensify multilateral efforts to deal with pandemics and virulent diseases, including the prompt exchange of accurate and transparent information, the provision of samples and materials for scientific research, and the development of medicines and vaccines to meet the growing demand for medical supplies. He also emphasized the urgent need for action to improve global efforts to ensure that the effects of pandemics are addressed at the social and humanitarian levels.
“We stand today in the face of one challenge and one enemy, and we have become more aware of the limitations of individual efforts to contain a pandemic of this magnitude,” the prince said. “With our solidarity and mutual support, we can overcome this crisis and become stronger than before, advance our countries and achieve prosperity for our peoples.”
The Non-Aligned Movement is a forum of 120 developing states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. It is the largest grouping of states aside from the United Nations.
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