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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Jokowi calls on NAM nations to boost solidarity in battle against 'mutual enemy'

  • Apriza Pinandita
    Apriza Pinandita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 5, 2020   /   02:42 pm
COVID-19: Jokowi calls on NAM nations to boost solidarity in battle against 'mutual enemy' President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo attends the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held virtually from the State Palace on Monday. The summit discussed issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. (Antara/Setpres-Kris)

Indonesia called for leaders of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member countries to strengthen political solidarity amid the global fight against COVID-19 during the grouping's summit on Monday.

During the virtual forum, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo recalled the purpose of the establishment of the forum – the second-largest grouping of states after the United Nations – which was to fight “mutual enemy” imperialism and neocolonialism.

“Currently, our mutual enemy is the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jokowi said as quoted in a statement released by the State Secretariat.

In his address, Jokowi acknowledged that the pandemic was far from over and therefore he invited NAM member countries to act in a “prompt, careful and strategic” manner.

He also delivered three key points that countries should prioritize during the handling of the crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 3 million people and killed more than 200,000 in 210 countries and territories.

“First, we need to strengthen political solidarity among us because only by working together can we win this war,” Jokowi said.

Read also: Indonesia rallies to keep COVID-19 vaccines, drugs affordable

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the agreement of Dasasila Bandung (Bandung Principles), a 10-point statute resulting from the 1955 Asian-African Conference held in Bandung, West Java.

Coinciding with the occasion, as well the upcoming 60th commemoration of NAM’s establishment -- the manifestation of the principles -- next year, Jokowi also asked countries in the grouping to channel their time and energy to fully focus on addressing challenges brought about by the pandemic.

NAM comprises 120 members, mostly developing countries. The grouping was established in Belgrade in 1961 with only 25 members.

“Let us translate [the idea of] political solidarity into concrete collaboration. We need to work hard to get fair and timely access to COVID-19 vaccines and medicine at an affordable price,” he said as he asserted the importance of strengthening cooperation to maintain the global supply chain of medical and food supplies.

Jokowi went on to remind of the significance of partnerships among the developing countries, including to encourage the provision of debt relief, as well as humanitarian and development assistance. 

He also mentioned that the commitment from G-20 countries to provide suspension on debt payment to low-income countries needed to be implemented.

Read also: COVID-19: Learning from other countries

At the end of his address, Jokowi called for international communities to uphold multilateralism as the cornerstone of international cooperation.

This year's NAM Summit was hosted by Azerbaijan, with the main theme of “Unite to Fight COVID-19” and attended by leaders of member countries, including Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev as the chair of the forum, Afghanistan’s Ashraf Gani, Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz Canel, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Iran’s Hassan Rouhani, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi, Palestine’s Mahmoud Abbas, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro,

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Malaysia’s Muhyiddin Yassin also attended the forum, as well as representatives from international and regional organizations.