The 120-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has backed the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) – a specialized agency of the UN responsible for global public health — in its battle against the COVID-19 or coronavirus pandemic, according to Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

An online Summit of NAM Contact Group was held on Monday to discuss the response to the ongoing pandemic crisis.

Hosted by the current Chairman of NAM, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Indonesian President Joko Widodo also attended the summit among others.

The NAM’s backing of the WHO is significant, as the UN body has got caught in a turf war between the US and China.

While the US President Donald Trump has announced a freeze in US contributions after slamming the global body as having “failed in responding quickly to the coronavirus outbreak,” China, on the other hand, has committed $30 million to the WHO.

Marsudi said the declaration adopted at the end of the video conference, expressed strong condemnation at the unilateral coercive measures that violate the UN Charter and international law.

She said the declaration also recognized that the poorest and most vulnerable have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

“The impact of the crisis will reverse hard-won development gains and hamper progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals,” said Marsudi, quoting the declaration.

She noted that the member countries agreed on the importance of solidarity and international cooperation to ensure global access to medicines, vaccines and medical equipment as well as to prevent the negative impacts of the pandemic on the economy.

The Indonesian top diplomat said the movement decided to establish a task force, which will work on a database that will include the basic humanitarian and medical needs and requirements of the NAM member nations.

Director-General of WHO Tedros Adhanom, Chairman of the African Union Commission Mousa Faki Mahamat, Afghan President Ashraf Gani, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attended the meeting as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

*Writing by Rhany Chairunissa Rufinaldo from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian language service.

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