JOHANNESBURG, April 28 (Xinhua) –– With over 3 million confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus globally, South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor urged her BRICS counterparts to strengthen cooperation and coordination in an effort to tackle the pandemic.
“I believe we can find solutions through coordination and corporation and through ensuring that our efforts together to address the pandemic which is having such dire economic and development effects on all of us,” she said at BRICS Foreign Ministers’ Extraordinary Conference on COVID-19 on Tuesday.
BRICS is an emerging-market bloc that groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Pandor said South Africa was firmly behind the World Health Organization which recently came under fire from the U.S. President Donald Trump on how it responded to the outbreak.
“We believe as South Africa that international cooperation is absolutely non-negotiable, we have to join efforts to find a vaccine and a cure for COVID-19,” she said, “It is for this reason that South Africa has joined the international community’s call for support and strengthening of the mandate of the World Health Organization (WHO) as it continues to coordinate global efforts to combat COVID-19.”
Pandor said that South Africa was deeply concerned about the politicization of the work of the WHO.
“We are particularly disconcerted about the withholding of funds at this critical time,” she said, adding that cutting funding would impair the ability of the organization to do its work during the pandemic.