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PM urges virus unity ahead of UN meet

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Hun Sen said he will call upon the international community for stronger regional and global solidarity to combat Covid-19. AKP

PM urges virus unity ahead of UN meet

Prime Minister Hun Sen will call upon the international community for stronger regional and global solidarity and cooperation to effectively combat the Covid-19 pandemic at an upcoming UN meeting.

His appeal will be made during the 31st special session of the UN General Assembly in response to Covid-19, to be held on December 3-4 in New York, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The ministry said on November 30 that the special session will focus on responses to the pandemic and will comprise heads of state presenting pre-recorded video statements via videoconference.

It said the pandemic has cost many lives, disrupted the global economy, hindered cross-border trade, reduced international tourism and strained the global health sector. The special session aims to galvanise joint efforts by the international community to vanquish Covid-19 and mitigate its aftermath.

“In his keynote statement, Samdech Techo Prime Minister [Hun Sen] will emphasise the need for stronger commitment to pursue regional and global solidarity and unity while effective multilateralism within the framework of the UN and the World Health Organisation is indispensable for responding to the pandemic,” the ministry said.

According to the UN, the pandemic has already caused over 1.3 million deaths and infected more than 54 million people. The resulting global economic recession could be the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s, it said.

“The United Nations system-wide response to Covid-19 is based on three pillars: a large-scale, coordinated, comprehensive health response; a wide-ranging effort to safeguard lives and livelihoods; and a transformative recovery process,” the UN said.

The UN said the two-day special session will allow participants to share their experiences in fighting the pandemic, reflect on the global response to date and forge a united, coordinated and people-centred path going forward. The general debates, including statements by member nations, will take place on the first day.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said countries with inadequate healthcare systems and developing economic status require assistance and solidarity from the international community.

“Small countries like Cambodia have a greater need for support via multilateral measures provided under UN guidance. We hope developing countries will receive treatment services including Covid-19 vaccines in the near future,” he said.

Political analyst Lao Mong Hay agreed that solidarity was warranted in the global fight against Covid-19.

“Our prime minister should urge all nations to see Covid-19 as a danger to humanity as a whole and to unite as one to overcome it despite all their differences,” he said.

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