Turkey proposes G20 virus fund to coordinate global action
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) speaks during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 29, 2019. (Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool via REUTERS)
An international fund under the auspices of the G-20 should be initiated to ensure an adequate and coordinated global action against the coronavirus, the Turkish foreign minister has said, a day before G-20 leaders are set to hold a videoconference to discuss what can be done in the fight against the fatal pandemic.
“I have proposed to the G20 to set up an international fund with the participation of international financial institutions. Thanks to this fund, we will know which country needs what kind of medical equipment and to what extent they can be met? We must handle this issue as international community and G20,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a press conference on March 25 in Ankara.
“This is a matter no country can alone respond to. We are facing a situation on which we should, as the international community, cooperate.”
Çavuşoğlu said he held phone conversation with his counterparts from 16 countries, including G20 countries, and will hold more conversations in the coming days, informing that a coordination and support unit among the G20 nations has already begun to function.
“We are very sensitive on this matter. We will take the necessary steps in line with our humanitarian approach. As we also need these equipment, we can export if we meet our own needs,” he stressed.
The Turkish foreign minister’s proposal came just a day before the leaders of the G20 will hold an emergency videoconference upon the initiative of Saudi Arabia as the pandemic continues to pose a global health and economy threat.
“King Salman will chair the meeting to advance a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications,” Riyadh said early on Wednesday. The G20 members will be joined by leaders from other affected countries including Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland.
Leaders from international organizations such as the U.N., World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) will also take part. Regional organizations will be represented by Vietnam, the chair of the Association of South-East Asian Nations; South Africa, chair of the African Union; the UAE, chair of the GCC; and Rwanda, chair of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
69 countries demanded equipment from Turkey
Çavuşoğlu informed that 69 countries have demanded medical equipment from Turkey after the coronavirus hit the entire world.
“It’s not possible to meet all these demands. We have supplied equipment to 17 nations. We also need for the masks and other equipment. That’s why we have proposed setting up a fund,” he said.
Çavuşoğlu informed that virus-hit Spain also asked for normal and medical masks from Turkey, during a phone conversation he made with Spanish foreign minister Arancha Gonzales.
FM to hold a phone conversation with NATO chief
Due to growing pandemic, almost all foreign policy issues were suspended but there are still important matters the Turkish Foreign Ministry is following, Çavuşoğlu said.
Technical talks for the revision of March 2016 migrant deal between Turkey and EU are one of them, he informed, repeating Ankara’s expectations from Brussels concerning the full implementation of the deal in line with the new realities.
Çavuşoğlu stressed he will hold a phone conversation with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on March 27 ahead of the alliance’s foreign ministers’ videoconference slated for April 2.