FOREIGN ministers of Asean member states welcomed the establishment of the COVID-19 Asean Response Fund and lauded Russia’s willingness to cooperate and contribute.
This will be done by utilising resources of the Asean-Russia Dialogue Partnership Financial Fund to mobilise joint projects that seek to respond to public health emergencies.
The fund was discussed during the Special Asean-Russia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on COVID-19 held via video conference on Wednesday.
A press release from Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the fund represents the region and Russia’s goal to urge the international community to set aside political differences and to act collectively during this difficult time.
“In the spirit of the Asean-Russia strategic partnership, the meeting served as an opportunity for the two sides to deliberate on ways to enhance cooperation in all areas of mutual interests, particularly to improve public health sector and to curb the adverse socio-economic impact brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated the press release.
During the video conference, Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn thanked Russia and other Asean countries for providing treatment and care to Cambodian nationals.
Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Kin Phea, director-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said COVID-19 is a serious global health crisis that requires significant international cooperative response. He added that while the US and China are in dispute over the cause of the disease, Russia’s humanitarian engagement is good for the Asean.
“Cambodia should take this opportunity to promote good cooperation and relations with Russia through the Asean diplomatic corridor, as well as strengthening bilateral cooperation, both politically and economically,” he said.
As of Tuesday, 52,628 active cases of COVID-19 were reported throughout the 10 Asean member countries, a decrease of 40, or negative 0.08 percent.
According to the webpage of Johns Hopkins University and Southeast Asian health ministries, the worst-hit countries in the region are Indonesia with 41,431 cases, Singapore with 41,216 cases and Philippines with 27,238 cases. Cambodia ranks ninth with 129, the most recent of which was found yesterday. Meanwhile, Russia has 553,301 cases.