British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Friday that there was no doubt that some countries were using vaccines as a diplomatic tool to ensure their influence, but Britain did not support so-called vaccine diplomacy.
Raab was speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of a G7 summit in Cornwall, southwest England, which would likely be dominated by attempts by the West to reassert its influence as the world seeks to rebuild itself from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Western diplomats fear that Russia and China will use their vaccines to gain influence around the world, especially in poorer countries that do not have their own production or the means to buy vaccines on the market. International market.
When asked if he was concerned that China and Russia could use vaccines in exchange for influence, Raab said, “There is no doubt that part of this is happening, and we do not support not vaccine diplomacy, much less blackmail.
“We believe that we have a moral duty, but also a strong interest in getting the world vaccinated,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expects the G7 to agree to donate 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to poorest countries at his summit and help immunize the world by the end of next year.
Raab said Britain’s contribution will come without conditions, with at least 80% being distributed through the international COVAX vaccine initiative. The rest would be provided to “strategically close countries where we have a special relationship, and no, we don’t insist on conditionality,” he added.
The United States has pledged to donate 500 million doses – which US President Biden said would come without conditions. Read more
“We would only think he was responsible for promoting vaccines that the WHO has sanctioned as safe to distribute,” Raab said.
“But it’s teamwork. And we want countries like China and Russia to come together to tackle the problems of pandemic, but also of climate change, and also to respect the basic principles of international law. “
China currently has two COVID-19 vaccines approved by the WHO, while a vaccine developed by Russia is awaiting approval. Russia said last week that it expects the approval in the coming months. Read more
Raab also said he would meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shortly, without giving a specific date. He declined to comment on the issues he would raise at this meeting.
Nonetheless, Raab criticized Russia as a leading protagonist in cyber attacks, calling on the G7 to take a united stand against all such incidents, whether led by state actors or not.
“These activities are contrary to international law, many of them, and they are very damaging, some of them are made for sheer theft, or for profit, others are made just to wreak havoc,” did he declare.
“We need to be clear as an international community that cyber attacks on hospitals, schools, critical national infrastructure – this is wrong. It is unjustifiable, it is out of reach. “
Asked about the recent forced landing of a civilian plane in Belarus, Raab said the country was sliding “to pariah status.”
“We need Belarus to step up and respect the fundamental, fundamental and cardinal rules of international law,” he said.
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