By Akbar Mammadov
Azerbaijani President Aliyev’s proposal to host UN General Assembly’s special session on COVID-19 serves the interests of the international community, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Leyla Abdullayeva said in a presser on June 29.
“This initiative put forward by the President of Azerbaijan is in the interests of the international community, and every country that supports this initiative is interested in the fight against COVID-19. Our country will work with all countries that support this initiative to implement it,” Abdullayeva sadi.
She emphasized the importance of strengthening international solidarity in the fight against the pandemic.
“The high-level discussion of this issue at the UN General Assembly will, of course, make a significant contribution to mitigating and overcoming the effects of the global health crisis, expanding international cooperation, developing multilateral diplomacy and, consequently, ensuring peace and security in the world,” Abdullayeva said.
Abdullayeva said that Armenia has objected to holding the UN session on COVID-19 and Armenia’s representative to the UN had sent a letter to the Secretary-General stating that he does not see the need to implement this initiative.
“At a time when the world is facing a global pandemic and all countries need international solidarity and cooperation on this issue, the main reason for Armenia's opposition to holding a high-level meeting on this issue is, of course, related the fact that the initiative was promoted by Azerbaijan,” the spokesperson said.
Abdullayeva noted that at such a difficult time the world is facing, Armenia does not support the discussion of the issue of human health, which is of the highest value, on the international platform. “Thus, the aggressor Armenia once again exposed itself by demonstrating what its true values are”, she emphasized.
Over 130 countries, two-third of UN member countries, supported the initiative to hold a special session of the UN General Assembly, put forward by Ilham Aliyev during the online summit of the Contact Group on coronavirus pandemic of the Non-Aligned Movement on May 4, 2020. The initiative was supported not only by the Non-Aligned Movement but also by most European countries, including members of the European Union, leading countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, Abdullayeva said.
Aliyev's initiative was discussed within the Non-Aligned Movement Coordinating Bureau in New York, and 120 member states unanimously supported the proposal and agreed to submit the proposal to the UN Secretary-General on behalf of the Movement.
“On May 13, the Azerbaijani president, as chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, on behalf of the member states of the Movement, addressed a letter to the UN Secretary-General with a request to convene a special session of the General Assembly. In turn, issuing a full note to the UN member states, the Secretary-General asked each state to express support the initiative of the President of Azerbaijan within 30 days in accordance with the rules of procedure,” she said.
During this period, the Presidential Administration of Azerbaijan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, our Representation to the UN in New York, as well as other diplomatic missions abroad actively worked on informing the initiative of the President of Azerbaijan in the countries where they are accredited, and a result, the initiative was supported by more than two-thirds of UN member states, the official said.
Furthermore, the spokesperson touched upon the procedural rules to convene a special session of the UN assembly.
“A special session of the Assembly may be convened in accordance with Article 9 (a) of the Rules of Procedure of the UN General Assembly”, she said, adding that on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement member states as a chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, the Azerbaijani president’s letter addressing to the UN Secretary-General, as well as the Secretary General's appeal to the member states to express national support was carried out in accordance with this procedure.
The spokesperson stressed that the support for this initiative of the Azerbaijani president testifies to the international community’s big confidence in Azerbaijan. Expressing her gratitude to each country that supported the initiative, Abdullayeva touched upon the next steps and possible date of the session.
“As for the next steps, in the coming days, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will share information among member states and announce the next steps in terms of support and procedure for the initiative of the President of Azerbaijan”.
She noted that according to the procedure rules, the next step is to adopt a resolution to convene a special session of the UN General Assembly. “A special session should be convened as soon as possible after the adoption of the resolution”.
Abdullayeva pointed out that according to the proposal of the President of Azerbaijan, a special session will be held in the format of a video conference at the level of heads of state and government. She also expressed hope that a special session will be held as soon as possible after the appropriate steps are taken.
“We believe that the special session will contribute to increasing the solidarity of the world's nations in the fight against the pandemic, strengthening international cooperation and finding an international response to this global threat,” she said.
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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