Laos PM calls for stronger international cooperation to address Covid-19 crisis

Laos' Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh remotely addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly at United Nations headquarters in New York, on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. - AP

VIENTIANE, Sept 26 (Vientiane Times/ANN): Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh has called on the international community to join forces and reinforce the global battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, avoiding blame games and the politicisation of Covid issues.

Delivering a statement at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Phankham highlighted the importance of global commitment towards enhanced cooperation to triumph over the ongoing health crisis.

“If we do not continue to enhance cooperation and mutual assistance, we will find it very difficult to overcome this crisis,” he said.

“I would like to urge the international community, particularly those countries with advanced medical science and all scientists worldwide, to make a concerted effort in combatting Covid-19, especially in the research and development of vaccines, medicines, and cooperation in tracing the origins of Covid-19. We should avoid the blame game and the politicisation of Covid-19 issues that may lead to political discourse.”

“We are enthusiastic to see medical scientists around the world coming together to work closely to find ways to protect people’s lives without discrimination,” he added.

Phankham observed that the pandemic had destroyed the global economic chain over the past two years, forcing almost every country into economic recession and stagnation. It has had direct impacts on socio-economic development in every country, especially developing and least developed countries such as Laos.

The progress made prior to the pandemic in the implementation of international commitments, namely the Sustainable Development Goals and others, has been undermined. Moreover, the ability and capacity of these countries to recover from this impact has been minimal, he added.

“In this regard, I would like to call on the international community, particularly developed countries, to attach importance to and pay more attention to providing more assistance to developing and least developed countries to enable them to overcome the impacts of Covid-19,” he said.

Like many other countries, Laos has been severely affected by the pandemic. Economic growth has been significantly undermined despite the government’s reinforced measures to contain the spread of the virus.

“Although Laos successfully met all three criteria required for graduation from LDC status at the 2nd review in February 2021, we still have concerns over the impacts of Covid-19 that may impair Laos’ competence to remain on track in all of the three set criteria,” Phankham said.

In the regional cooperation context, Laos has actively participated and contributed with great responsibility under the framework of Asean, especially in the maintenance and promotion of peace and stability in the region, to create an environment conducive for development cooperation among Asean member states, he added.

Laos is committed to reducing development disparities and promoting intra-Asean and inter-regional connectivity.

Laos has continued its economic infrastructure development in order to efficiently facilitate regional and sub-regional integration through various cooperation frameworks.

One of the milestone events in the coming months is the inauguration of the Laos-China railway at the end of this year, which will mark the opening of a new era under the government’s vision to transform Laos from being landlocked to a land-linked country, in a bid to further stimulate regional trade. - Vientiane Times/ANN

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