COVID-19: G7 urges stronger international cooperation

G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting/COVID-19 – Statement by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs

Paris, 25 March 2020

Today, on 25 March 2020, I took part in the G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting held by video-conference under the Presidency of the United States.

The G7 Foreign Ministers, along with the High Representative of the European Union, dedicated most of their discussions to the response required to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

These discussions took place in the framework decided by the Heads of State and Government during their meeting on 16 March.

They discussed the situation in their respective countries and around the world, concerning the extent of the pandemic and the measures taken. They expressed their solidarity with all those affected by the disease. Strong convergence emerged on the following points, which were highlighted by the European participants in particular:

- The need to strengthen international cooperation to combat COVID-19, and in particular the essential importance of support to the World Health Organization (WHO), both in the direct response to the crisis and in the strengthening of health systems and research.

- The absolute importance of assistance to the most vulnerable countries, particularly in Africa. France proposed that the G7 countries could stress this priority together at the G20, without neglecting needs elsewhere in the world. Vulnerable countries require assistance in support to their health systems and they will need economic assistance, particularly given the impact of the crisis on the prices of commodities. The shared priority will be to help keep the health systems of vulnerable countries running, and to ensure these countries have equitable access to the diagnosis tools, treatments and vaccines that are developed. This is a matter of solidarity with the most vulnerable countries, and is essential to avoid a resurgence of the epidemic once it has died down in other countries in other parts of the world.

- The need to coordinate our actions to enable our nationals on temporary travel abroad to return home. The massive effort we have already launched, which has so far enabled almost 100,000 French nationals to return home, will continue. It requires airports and major air hubs to be kept open, as well as air routes. As we proposed, the G7 countries will coordinate their efforts with third countries to this end.

The Minister highlighted the need to fight any attempt to exploit the crisis for political purposes and stated that unity should prevail over all other considerations in order to combat the pandemic effectively. Along with his colleagues, he recalled the need to ensure broad access to science-based information, which is a key aspect of the fight against the pandemic.

The Ministers also highlighted the importance of the economic and financial aspect, discussed by their finance minister colleagues, and stressed the need to enable the continuity and security of supply chains./.

Published on 01/04/2020

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