Baku, June 27, AZERTAC
“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world, the Republic of Azerbaijan under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev has been putting forward the necessary initiatives and taking tangible steps to strengthen international solidarity in the fight against coronavirus at the regional and global levels,” Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, Head of the Department of Foreign Policy Affairs of the Presidential Administration Hikmat Hajiyev has told AZERTAC.
Hikmat Hajiyev noted that the pandemic had not only created serious health problems that endanger people's lives, but also created devastating global socioeconomic and humanitarian threats, the negative consequences of which will be felt for a long time. In the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic that is comparable to World War II, there is a greater need for global solidarity and global vision than for measures of self-isolation and fragmentary events. To this end, an extraordinary summit of the heads of state and government of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States was held on the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev as chairman of the organization in April. The Turkish Council was the first international organization to hold a summit on the fight against COVID-19.
On the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev as chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, an online summit of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group in response to COVID-19 pandemic was held on 4 May. The event was attended not only by members of the Non-Aligned Movement, but also by the UN Secretary-General, the President of the UN General Assembly, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, senior representatives of international organizations such as the African Union and the European Union. The Non-Aligned Movement, an organization that brings together 120 countries, is the second largest political institution in the world after the United Nations.
The assistant to the President stressed that the Republic of Azerbaijan had made a donation to the World Health Organization as an example of global solidarity in the fight against COVID-19, and also provided humanitarian assistance to more than 30 countries.
As an example of global solidarity, President Ilham Aliyev suggested in his remarks at the Non-Aligned Movement's online summit that a special video conference of the UN General Assembly be held at the level of heads of state and government to combat the pandemic.
Under the UN Charter, the General Assembly may convene special sessions if necessary. Special sessions may be convened by the Secretary-General at the request of the UN Security Council or the majority of its member states. A limited number of special sessions of the General Assembly have been held since the founding of the United Nations.
The proposal was unanimously agreed by 120 non-aligned countries in New York. After that, the chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev sent an appeal to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement with a proposal to hold a special session of the UN General Assembly at the level of heads of state and government in the format of a video conference. On 28 May, the UN Secretary-General appealed to all member states in accordance with Article 9 (a) of the General Assembly's Rules of Procedure, asking them to respond to the initiative within 30 days, i.e. by 27 June.
According to the rules, a special session is to be convened if the majority of UN member states (97 countries is enough) support the initiative. According to the official information available to the Azerbaijani side, about 130 countries have informed the Secretary General's office that they support the initiative before the indicated deadline.
Hikmat Hajiyev noted that the support by about 130 UN member states for the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev acting in the status of Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement to hold a special session of the General Assembly is further evidence of the great confidence in Azerbaijan on the part of the international community.
The countries that have supported the initiative represent all regions of the world. They range from permanent members of the UN Security Council to small island nations. The letters sent from such states to the UN Secretary General in relation to this issue emphasize that President Ilham Aliyev's initiative to hold a special session of the General Assembly is very timely and appropriate.
“We express our gratitude to all the countries that have supported Azerbaijan's initiative. We believe that these countries have once again demonstrated their commitment to the UN Charter, multilateral cooperation and multilateralism,” Hikmat Hajiyev said. In the coming days, the UN Secretary General is expected to officially inform member states. The Azerbaijani side hopes that a special session will be held as soon as possible.
Since the initiative put forward by President Ilham Aliyev, supported by the Non-Aligned Movement member states and has been approved by the majority of the world's states, holding the special session has become a common matter not only for the countries involved, but also for all UN member states.
The Republic of Azerbaijan is open to cooperation with all member states to determine the format and modalities for the organization of the special session of the UN General Assembly on pandemic control at the level of heads of state and government in the format of a video conference, and to achieve results at the end of the special session. We believe that all member countries will show maximum flexibility during the consultations.
The Prersident’s Assistant said: “We are confident that the special session will create conditions for the full mobilization of the international community’s efforts in the fight against the pandemic and make a positive contribution to finding a global response to this global threat. The continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates once again that there is a great need and demand for the heads of state and government of the world to come together without delay in a special session of the UN General Assembly, which is regarded as parliament of the world, to discuss ways out of the COVID-19 scourge and find the necessary solutions. During its chairmanship in the Non-Aligned Movement under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, the Republic of Azerbaijan will continue its activities focused on multilateralism, joining the global efforts in the face of common threats and strengthening global solidarity.”
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