Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called on the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) member states to join hands and share their expertise to fight common challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zarif made the remarks in a speech to a virtual ministerial meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
What follows is the full text of Foreign Minister Zarif’s speech delivered on Thursday, September 24, 2020:
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Allow me to begin by thanking you for convening this important CICA event, and to extend my best wishes to our new Executive Director.
To meet the special challenges of our time, we need to solidify our cooperation within the framework of CICA. We need to secure a pivotal role for the organization, to advance multilateralism, and to ensure inclusive collaboration. It is imperative for us to pool our resources to jointly tackle the enormous challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
First and foremost, we all need to embrace multilateralism and reject unilateralism in addressing a global challenge of this magnitude; one that has defied all geographical, political and socio-economic divisions.
As CICA members, we should strive to strengthen cooperation within the framework of our organization—in coordination with the UN and WHO—to ensure full, free and fair access to health services, medicine, and medical equipment for our peoples. We must also act to ensure that no one can arbitrarily challenge professional international organizations.
We must collectively emphasize the need for industrialized economies to assist developing countries in the transfer of medical technology and equipment. And we must urge international economic institutions—as well as wealthy countries—to provide other nations and relevant international and regional organizations with necessary financial assistance in their campaigns against the pandemic.
As inheritors of great Asian civilizations, we should always encourage a people-first approach, putting saving human lives and human dignity above all else, and reject any politicization of the pandemic.
We need to jointly confront the destructive impact of unilateral coercive measures on efforts to combat the pandemic. They are nothing but economic and medical terrorism, and we must refuse to comply with these unlawful measures in our collective endeavor to tackle this common affliction of humanity.
The only way to overcome common challenges that threaten the health and security of our nations is to work together to find common solutions that effectively and decisively address the sources of the threats. My country stands ready to join our friends and neighbors in CICA and exchange knowledge and expertise in this collective mission.
We need humility and multilateral cooperation to grapple with a microscopic enemy that has brought major powers to their knee—without deference to their military might, economic wealth and propaganda machines.