Iraqi President speaks at UN General Assembly: Access to COVID-19 Vaccines Must be Equal, Affordable and Fast for All, Iraq Will Distribute Vaccines Free to Citizens

  2020-12-04 20:56      62 View Count        Comment

On Thursday, December 3, 2020, the President of the Republic of Iraq, Barham Salih, gave a speech at the special session of the United Nations General Assembly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Salih stressed the importance of international solidarity in the face of challenges presented by the pandemic which, he said, "knows no borders, neither geographic nor manmade."

Solidarity must involve equal and fair access to one of several vaccines reportedly becoming available soon, President Salih told the General Assembly. This would mean minimizing commercial imperatives in production and marketing of vaccines, as well as any political disputes that could interfere with distribution.

President Salih noted that, despite that Iraq was itself facing complex and dispiriting economic challenges – due mostly to the fall in oil prices – his country planned to acquire vaccines and provide them to citizens free of charge.

Iraq had had comparative success in controlling the pandemic so far, President Salih added, due to the heroic efforts of Iraq's frontline medical staff, an educational campaign for citizens and the assistance of international partners and allies. This was even though Iraqi medical infrastructure was diminished after decades of conflict.

"We believe it is important for everyone to comprehend our circumstances and to help us be part of the solution in the elimination of this virus," President Salih said, adding that it was important to counteract pre-existing global economic disparities to ensure fast and equal access to vaccines in all nations of the world.

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