Initiated by President Ilham Aliyev, Non-Aligned Movement Summit in the format of Contact Group kicks off - UPDATED

Initiated by President Ilham Aliyev, Non-Aligned Movement Summit in the format of Contact Group kicks off - UPDATED
# 04 May 2020 14:30 (UTC +04:00)

On the initiative of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Ilham Aliyev, an online Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group in response to Covid-19 has been held. Held under the motto "United against COVID-19", the Summit focused on the fight against coronavirus pandemic, APA reports.

Greeting the participants of the Summit, President Ilham Aliyev said:

Dear Summit participants, I sincerely greet you. The Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group is dedicated to the fight against the global pandemic- coronavirus disease.

The Summit agenda was agreed with the member states. If there is no objection, the agenda of the Summit will be adopted.

I declare the online Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group in response to Covid-19 open.

The head of state made an opening speech at the Summit.

Opening speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- Dear heads of state and government,

Dear President of the UN General Assembly,

Dear leaders of international organizations,

Your Excellencies!

Azerbaijan as the country chairing the Non-Aligned Movement, based on the Cartagena document on methodologies adopted by the Movement in 1996, has put forward the initiative to set up a Contact Group to Combat Coronavirus and hold a Summit in this format.

It is gratifying that all the member states of the Non-Aligned Movement have unanimously supported this initiative. The Contact Group represents countries from all regional groups based on geographical representation and the principle of voluntary participation.

I would like to express my gratitude to the states included in the Contact Group for participating in the Summit.

I would also like to thank the President of the UN General Assembly, the Director General of the World Health Organization and Chairman of the African Union Commission, who are participating in this Summit.

I express my gratitude to the UN Secretary General, Mr. António Guterres, and the High Representative of the European Union and Vice-President of the European Commission Mr. Josep Borrell for the video message.

Your Excellencies, on 25-26 October 2019, the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement was held in Baku. The principles of international law were reflected in the Baku Declaration and the Baku final document adopted at the Summit. At the same time, these documents once again expressed support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of the borders of states enshrined in the Bandung Principles the 65th anniversary of which is celebrated these days. With the unanimous support of 120 member states, Azerbaijan will chair the Non-Aligned Movement for three years. I would like to once again express my gratitude for the great confidence placed in us.

When taking over chairmanship, I stated that Azerbaijan would take tangible steps to protect the interests of the participating countries in the international arena and would be guided by the strengthening of solidarity and mutual support.

Azerbaijan has prepared a comprehensive Action Plan regarding its chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement and has begun practical activities. The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the situation in the world, bringing about new realities as a result. Azerbaijan reacted to the new situation quickly and adequately. This is evidenced by the Summit of the Contact Group of the Non-Aligned Movement against Coronavirus initiated by Azerbaijan.

The global COVID-19 pandemic adversely affects all countries of the world. No country is insured against it. We can defeat COVID-19 with mutual support, without locking ourselves up and by joint efforts only.

We appreciate the announcement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres of a global humanitarian response plan to combat coronavirus, the adoption of relevant resolutions in the UN General Assembly and the important role that the World Health Organization plays in the global fight against the pandemic.

From the first days of the pandemic, we have been in close contact with the World Health Organization. Based on our appeal, a delegation comprised of leading specialists of the organization visited our country in March and got acquainted with the situation. I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for the support provided to Azerbaijan and for his participation in our Summit. This is the second Summit held on the initiative of Azerbaijan. On 10 April, on my initiative, a Summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States, an organization Azerbaijan chairs in, was held against COVID-19. The Director-General of the World Health Organization also participated in that Summit and provided valuable recommendations.

I would like to note with satisfaction the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement of 9 April entitled “Support for the World Health Organization and its Director General”.

On 23 March, the Director-General of the World Health Organization sent me a letter expressing high appreciation of the work done in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan was recognized as an exemplary country in terms of the measures being taken against the pandemic. As a responsible and reliable member of the world community, Azerbaijan has provided voluntary financial assistance in the amount of $5 million to the World Health Organization in support of the global fight against coronavirus.

Azerbaijan took prompt and necessary measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Following my executive order at the beginning of the year, a Task Force was set up under the Cabinet of Ministers. During the pandemic, the priority for us is the protection of people’s health and their social protection.

All public events that were supposed to be held on the territory of the country have been postponed or canceled. From 3 March, teaching at all educational institutions across the country was gradually suspended. A special regime was introduced on 14 March, including a series of measures of social distancing, and on 24 March, a special quarantine regime was introduced.

In Azerbaijan, more than 20 hospitals have been allocated for the treatment of patients with coronavirus. Laboratory tests, some medical equipment and supplies necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of the virus were delivered to Azerbaijan. There are 23 testing laboratories in Azerbaijan. To date, over 160,000 tests have been administered in the country.

To meet domestic needs, the production of protective and other medical supplies was arranged in a short time.

Thus, as a result of all these measures, mass infection was prevented. In the last three weeks, there has been a positive trend between the number of infected and those recovering in our country. During the pandemic, we once again witnessed the professionalism of our doctors. Azerbaijan is ready to share its experience in the field of treatment of coronavirus patients with other member states of the Non-Aligned Movement and to carry out cooperation in this area.

Given the decrease in the rate of the infection and the recovery trend, a plan on a phased exit from the special quarantine regime is being implemented. Although the special quarantine regime has been extended until 31 May, a number of restrictions were relaxed on 27 April and 4 May.

To ensure economic stability in Azerbaijan, solve the problems associated with employment, ensure macroeconomic and financial stability, a socioeconomic support package in the amount of more than 3.5 billion manats or $ 2 billion was adopted.

In general, the state has fully retained the salaries of more than 900,000 people working in the public sector and pays a significant part of the salaries of 690,000 workers in the non-state sector. Along with this, funds in the amount of the subsistence minimum are paid out to 600,000 low-income, unemployed and informally working people for two months.

For the social protection of the unemployed, there are plans to create 90,000 public jobs by the end of the year.

The state will provide a guarantee for 60 percent of new loans issued by banks to entrepreneurs.

Until 1 January 2021, taxpayers will be granted tax benefits and tax breaks for areas of activity worst affected by the pandemic.

All this is only a part of the steps being taken. In general, our people highly appreciate the measures being taken by the state.

Dear colleagues, in the conditions of the pandemic, it is important to maintain open trade between our countries and uninterruptedly carry out international cargo transportation. Azerbaijan has already become one of the important transport and logistical centers of Eurasia, has played a major role in the creation of East-West, North-South and North-West transport corridors connecting dozens of countries. Azerbaijan, as a reliable transit and logistical center responsibly treating its role in the pandemic, provides unhindered transit traffic through its territory.

At the same time, it is important to exchange experience among medical specialists, share the experience, information and scientific knowledge gained in the fight against the virus and provide assistance to countries in need.

As noted in the proposed Declaration of the Summit, the Working Group of the Non-Aligned Movement will add the humanitarian and medical needs of the participating countries related to the pandemic to the unified database. These data will then be presented to donor countries and international humanitarian organizations for the provision of feasible assistance.

To provide support to member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement that are most in need of assistance, Azerbaijan will allocate an additional donation of $5 million to the World Health Organization. These funds are intended for those most in need of assistance from the regional groups of Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The Non-Aligned Movement, which unites 120 countries, is the largest international organization after the UN General Assembly. During the presidency of Azerbaijan, we intend to jointly enhance the international authority and role of the Non-Aligned Movement in the international arena. Friendship, solidarity and mutual support among countries play a special role.

With your consent, we, as member countries of the Non-Aligned Movement and as an example of global solidarity, can propose holding a special session of the General Assembly at the level of heads of state and government, as provided for in the UN Charter, dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic in the format of a video conference.

In this difficult time for all of us, I once again urge all states to maintain friendship, mutual support and solidarity.

Thank you for your attention!


President Ilham Aliyev: I would like to invite all of you to listen to the video message of UN Secretary General Mr. António Guterres.

Video message of UN Secretary General Mr. António Guterres

I thank President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev for convening this meeting.

Our societies are being severely tested.

Covid-19 has put the lives of billions of people around the globe in turmoil, inflicting grave suffering and destabilizing the global economy.

It has exposed the fragility of our societies and economies to shocks, and it has laid bare deep inequalities that threaten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The only answer is brave, visionary and collaborative leadership.

The scale and complexity of this crisis demand a coordinated global response.

We must recognize that not enough solidarity has been shown to the developing countries.

They need massive support, both to address gaps in their health systems as they deal with the pandemic, and to deal with the social and economic consequences for their societies.

We must ensure that an effective response to Covid-19 reaches everyone, everywhere, and that equality prevails.

With two-thirds of UN Member States, the Non-Aligned Movement has a critical role to play in forging global solidarity.

We have three immediate priorities: to end the Covid-19 pandemic, to address its socio-economic impacts, and to use the recovery to build back better and leave no one behind.

We cannot afford to fall short on the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

To that end, I reiterate the support of the United Nations for your efforts.

I wish you a productive meeting.


President Ilham Aliyev: I would like to express my gratitude to the UN Secretary General for this video message. And now the floor is given to Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.


Your Excellency Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan,

Distinguished heads of State and Government,

Honourable Ministers, dear colleagues and friends,

It is an honour to join you today.

I thank Your Excellency President Aliyev for the invitation to address the Contact Group of the Non-Aligned Movement.

We are sincerely grateful for the Communique issued last month expressing the support of the Non-Aligned Movement for the work we are doing at WHO. On behalf of the whole organization, I thank you.

I also give my warm thanks to the government and people of Azerbaijan for their contribution of 5 million U.S. dollars to the fight against COVID-19. And I would like to thank Your Excellency for allocating an additional 5 million dollars to WHO to assist NAM countries.

I am pleased to be with you to convey WHO’s full cooperation and support to the movement and its Member States in addressing the spread and impact of the virus.

As NAM marks the 65th anniversary of the Ten Bandung Principles this year, it is clear that multilateral collaboration and diplomatic cooperation are needed to ensure countries can respond effectively to COVID-19, while strengthening preparedness for other emergencies.

It is also evident that no country, regardless of size or resources, can manage COVID-19 alone.

Global solidarity, based on national unity, has never been more important.

Now more than ever, your continued multilateral engagement - and your longstanding commitment to peace - are vital for tackling COVID-19.

Close partnership between countries is essential for building transparency, trust and coordination, and for the governance and financing of emergency preparedness and response.

In the face of this global emergency, the spirit of solidarity must be at the centre of our efforts to unite peoples and nations.

Since WHO declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in January, COVID-19 has spread throughout the world, disrupting health, economic, political and social systems.

This pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of local, national and global emergency preparedness.

The pandemic has reminded us of some simple truths: we are one humanity. We share the same planet, the same hopes and dreams, and the same fears.

It has also underlined the importance of strong national and sub-national health systems as the foundation of global health security and universal health coverage.

While COVID-19 has affected all segments of society, it also highlights the increased risks that the most vulnerable and poorest face during crises.

This includes refugees, people living in conflict, and communities in post-war settings. Public health crises like COVID-19 jeopardize hard-won development gains and hamper progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

At this critical juncture of the pandemic, all countries and stakeholders, including those from the private sector, must work together to ensure that no one is left behind.

Strengthening the values of multilateralism and international cooperation, which underpin the Charter of the Non-Aligned Movement, is key at this crucial moment.

WHO is supporting countries in their efforts to strengthen surveillance and early detection, isolate suspected cases, increase testing capacity, manage cases clinically, share information, work across sectors, and in risk communication and community engagement.

While progress has been made in health security preparedness through instruments such as the International Health Regulations, gaps remain and there is still wide variance in national preparedness.

It is critical to accelerate action to improve preparedness capacities both within countries and at the global level.

To break the cycle of “panic and neglect”, the world needs to shift from relying on reactive measures.

Instead, we must focus our efforts on long-term preparedness, which depends on sustained multisectoral and multilateral engagement and a whole of society approach.

Excellencies, thank you again for your leadership and resolve in the fight against COVID-19.

WHO remains committed to working with the Non-Aligned Movement and supporting its Member States to tackle COVID-19 and reinforce the critical principles of multilateralism, national unity and global solidarity.

With the support of the Non-Aligned Movement, we can create the equitable, peaceful and prosperous world that the Movement's founders envisioned, and achieve the ever more urgent goal of Health for All.

I thank you.


President Ilham Aliyev: Thank you, Mr. Director-General. And now I invite you to listen to the video message of the High Representative of the European Union and Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell.

Video message of Josep Borrell

Thank you for inviting me to address you on behalf of the European Union. If ever we needed a reminder of how interconnected the world is, the COVID-19 crisis has provided it. This is a global wake-up call. Nobody will be safe in any country, in any region as long as the pandemic rages in different parts of the world. I salute the initiative of the Non-aligned Movement in calling this Summit to support a co-ordinated multilateral approach. Defeating the pandemic requires a global approach and a coordinated response but new and innovative multilateral partnerships will also be essential if we are to build a sustainable global recovery.

The EU has put its full weight behind the UN Secretary General’s push to co-ordinate a UN-wide response, and backed his calls for a global ceasefire. This is an opportunity to revitalise the peace and security agenda in terms of conflict prevention, peacebuilding, and strengthening of peacekeeping. Humanitarian access to vulnerable populations should not be hindered.

The World Health Organisation plays a critical role in containing the spread of the virus. The EU will continue to mobilise the necessary resources to support and safeguard the role of the WHO in the multilateral system at this time of international health emergency. We will use the momentum of our draft Resolution on COVID-19 at the World Health Assembly on 18 May to gather support from other countries and regional groups. I encourage the nations represented here today to rally behind this proposal.

Tackling the current pandemic and building resilience against future epidemics must go hand in hand. We welcome the joint call for action by the WHO and other global health organisations to develop fast, universal and equitable access to safe, quality, effective and affordable diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines against coronavirus. Collectively, the EU and its member states are the largest donor to the WHO and in 2019, the EU alone provided 146 million euros in funding. We have stepped up our financial support to the WHO and the EU is joining forces to kick-start a pledging effort from today – 4 May – to generate €7.5 billion.

Beyond the immediate public health challenges, the international response must put people at the centre, tackle inequalities, and uphold human rights for all. We must also minimise disruptions to the global transport and trade system, and avoid export restrictions or bottlenecks in the supply chain, especially for food and medicines.

As I said at the start, this pandemic recognises no boundaries. We have tragic first-hand experience of that in Europe and we will have to deal with the severe social and economic toll caused by the crisis in all EU countries. However, this should not and does not prevent us from contributing significantly to the global fight against the pandemic. Our “Team Europe” package to support partner countries – in particular the most vulnerable, not least in Africa – to date reaches more than 20 billion euros. Your aim today to establish a database of basic needs and requirements amongst your member countries can help us to ensure that the EU’s efforts in this regard are targeted as effectively as possible.

We are beginning to understand how human health and planetary health are intertwined and how existing inequalities are making us more vulnerable. So let us learn the lessons. What is clear is that we need to do more, not less. Now more than ever we should focus our collective efforts on the full implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Let us use this opportunity to make sure that we shape a better version of the world tomorrow, a world where we reinforce multilateralism, not isolationism; a world that embraces the richness of our diversity and protects our citizens and our planet. It is our responsibility to demonstrate that together we can be more effective. Fighting the pandemic together will be essential to pave the way for stronger more multilateral cooperation during the recovery phase and a more multilateral world after the pandemic. The EU is ready and willing to work with all partners to this end.


Other speakers at the Summit included President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of People`s Democratic Republic of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of Nicaragua José Daniel Ortega, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Arif Alvi, President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Chairman of the Sovereign Council of the Republic of Sudan Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan, President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, Minister of Health and Public Hygiene of the Republic of Togo Moustafa Mijiyawa, who read out Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma’s message, President of Turkmenistan Gurbangulu Berdimuhamedov, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia Nangolo Mbumba, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus Sergei Roumas, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Malaysia Muhyiddin Yassin, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa, Minister for Foreign Affairs Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Gambia Mamadou Tangara, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana Ms. Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Minister of Foreign Affairs OF Kuwait Sheikh Ahmad Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Mauritius Nandcoomar Bodha, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda Sam Kahamba Kutesa, Prime Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Sami Dawood.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev made a closing speech at the Summit.

Closing speech of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

- I thank all the speakers. We move on to the next item on our agenda. It is the adoption of the Final Declaration. The declaration has already been agreed. Therefore, we consider it already adopted. Thank you for the constructive participation and attitude shown in the adoption of the Declaration.

Dear participants of the event, I want to once again express my deep appreciation to all of you for accepting our invitation and taking part in the Summit.

The countries participating in the Non-Aligned Movement understand the problems of each other, show solidarity and give preference to multilateral cooperation, which is of great importance.

In the conditions of the global pandemic, solidarity and cooperation among countries and international organizations is particularly relevant.

I am sure that the valuable thoughts and suggestions made in the speeches of the heads of state and government, as well as the leaders of international organizations, will contribute to our joint fight against coronavirus.

At the same time, it would be useful to further step up our efforts to cooperate in the field of economy, trade, transport and other areas in the post-pandemic period in order to eliminate the negative effects of this disease.

The summit has shown that the Non-Aligned Movement is ready to cooperate with other international institutions and the international community. I believe that our discussions have also demonstrated that the format of the Contact Group is an effective mechanism. Thematic working subgroups of the Contact Group can be established afterwards.

I want to once again express my confidence that we will defeat the pandemic together.

I declare the Non-Aligned Movement Contact Group Summit closed. Thank you!


Given that the Non-Aligned Movement includes 120 countries, the Summit is held in the format of a Contact Group with the participation of countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, based on the principle of geographical representation.

The 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement member countries was held under the chairmanship of President Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan on October 25-26, 2019. Azerbaijan took over the NAM Chairmanship for 2019-2022.

The promotion of multilateral diplomacy, strengthening cooperation and solidarity between the NAM member states was identified as one of the key priorities of Azerbaijan's chairmanship of the organization.

On April 10, 2020, on the initiative of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, chairman of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States Ilham Aliyev, an extraordinary Summit of the Turkic Council was held through videoconference to discuss the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The Turkic Council is the first international organization across the globe to hold a summit on the coronavirus pandemic at the level of heads of state.

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