The Turkish foreign minister on Tuesday called for global cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines, as he attended the G20 foreign and development ministers’ meeting in Italy’s southern town of Matera.
“We support all efforts for sustainable, inclusive & healthy global development,” Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter, adding that G20 can play leading role in fight against the pandemic, and vaccines should be an area of “cooperation, not competition.”
“We cannot stay indifferent to the situation in Africa,” he wrote, referring to the shortage of COVID vaccines in the continent.
Of the three billion doses administered globally, Africa’s share is mere 49 million, according to Our World in Data, a tracking website.
According to the portal affiliated with Oxford University, only 0.9% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.
Most African countries received their vaccines under the UN-led COVAX initiative, which were largely sourced from the Serum Institute of India.
But India halted vaccine exports in response to its own urgent needs, leading to supply shortages.
Separately, the Turkish foreign minister met his British, Argentinian and Rwandan counterparts on the sidelines of the forum.
“With my British counterpart Dominic Raab, discussed bilateral relations and regional issues including Syria and Libya,” said Cavusoglu on Twitter.
He also discussed “political and economic relations” with Felipe Sola, the minister of foreign affairs of Argentina.
With Vincent Biruta, the Rwandan foreign minister, he discussed “cooperation in the fields of defense industry, trade, education and culture.”
On Monday, the Turkish diplomat attended a ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Rome, and also met Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister Zeina Akar, Central African Republic’s Foreign Minister Sylvie Baipo-Temon, and Singaporean counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan.
The G20 is the international forum that brings together the world’s major economies. Its members account for more than 80% of world GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of the world’s population.
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