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PM: Solidarity in Covid fight, no political strings attached

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Prime Minister Hun Sen addresses the global Covid-19 summit. SPM

PM: Solidarity in Covid fight, no political strings attached

Prime Minister Hun Sen has called for solidarity in the fight against Covid-19 and for the public to avoid using the pandemic as a political agenda or discriminating among the different jabs available.

Speaking at the Global Covid-19 Summit held virtually under the theme “Ending the Pandemic and Building Back Better” on September 22, Hun Sen said Cambodia was pleased to join the international community in committing to the “Draft Targets”, which was the key outcome of this summit.

The prime minister said Cambodia was also ready to contribute to this global Covid-19 fight by creating an environment conducive to the production of necessary health supplies as part of the ongoing Covid-19 battle.

“We must join hands to stop this crisis to the best of our abilities and capacities in a sincere, responsible and humanitarian manner without any hidden political agenda.

“Cambodia is of the view that all countries must work together and unite in solidarity to realise this main goal. Do not discriminate against races and political tendencies and avoid using the fight against Covid-19 as a political tool or to serve one’s own political agenda,” he said.

He supported the commitment of US President Joe Biden, who pledged at the UN General Assembly on September 22 to export 500 million jabs around the world and called on countries to reach at least a 70 per cent vaccination rate.

“To achieve this target, Cambodia calls on all stakeholders to set all vaccines approved [for emergency use] by the World Health Organisation [WHO] as a key global strategic good without discrimination against the makes of vaccines, and as a public good with an affordable price that all countries have access to and can use on demand,” Hun Sen said.

He urged more investment in the production of vaccines in various regions as this will enable other countries to access them. All governments, he said, should not to hoard vaccines for their own use or keep vaccines they produce only for themselves.

The prime minister highlighted Cambodia’s effort to fight the disease by using vaccinations as key strategic measures, backed up by three measures including preventing and detecting infections in a timely manner; strengthening the capacities for effective treatment and use of drugs; and thoroughly implementing administrative, health and legal measures with participation of people from all walks of life.

On the socio-economic front, the Cambodian government has introduced nine rounds of intervention measures to help stabilise businesses and the livelihood of citizens, with particular attention on workers and employees, poor households and those vulnerable to the impacts of the crisis.

Cambodia is in the process of fully reopening socio-economic activities, on a step-by-step approach and in a vigilant manner.

Hun Sen said Cambodia supported the initiative of the Global Covid-19 Summit and would contribute to this cause with the Kingdom’s own capacity and comparative advantages, by opening and creating an environment conducive to the production of essential and necessary products such as masks, personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.

“This contribution will ensure that the world has access to necessary high-quality products at affordable prices and can timely meet demand, as Cambodia has comparative advantages in terms of labour and costs,” he said, adding that the government will promote investment in this sector by providing incentives and facilitating all processes to ensure the successes of these investments.

He said Cambodia has now become one of the countries with the highest vaccination rate, with approximately 79.17 per cent of the total population of 16 million having been vaccinated as of September 22.

Vitit Muntarbhorn, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia, has joined others including the WHO in lauding the Kingdom for achieving this target. He made the remarks during his first meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen held virtually on September 22.


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