JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Minister of Foreign Affairs in Indonesia Retno Marsudi highlighted the importance of cooperation as a regional Covid-19 response during the Special ASEAN-Australia Foreign Ministers Meeting on Covid-19 on June 30.
“This meeting is held to specifically discuss the measures taken among ASEAN countries and Australia in responding to the Covid-19 emergency health crisis and recovery post-pandemic,” said Retno Marsudi during the virtual event held in which ASEAN’s foreign ministers and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne were present.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister mentioned three topics during the meeting.
The first was cooperation to find a vaccine followed by strengthening regional partnerships.
The third topic was cooperation in addressing transnational crimes.
Together for a vaccine discovery
Retno explained how Indonesia is a co-sponsor for a Covid-19 resolution that was adopted by the 73rd World Health Assembly last May 2020.
The Foreign Minister mentioned how there is a paragraph in the Covid-19 resolution about medication and vaccines.
In it was a call to carry out the development, testing, and mass production of Covid-19 medication and vaccines that are effective and affordable.
For those reasons, Indonesia was ready to become a co-sponsor of the resolution.
“In doing so, the timely, equal, and affordable access to Covid-19 medication and vaccines can be realized,” said Retno.
At the virtual meeting, Retno encouraged ASEAN and Australia to forge stronger regional partnerships in the field of economy and politics.
For Retno, optimizing cooperation in the region is especially important during the recovery phase post-coronavirus pandemic.
Transnational crime response
In regards to transnational crime, Retno Marsudi emphasized that Indonesia has temporarily decided to receive Rohingya refugees.
The majority of the Rohingya refugees already have a card from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
This means that they are officially recognized as refugees and are granted international protection rights under the UNHCR.
“Our main priority is to return the Rohingya refugees to their original country of Rakhine State Myanmar in a safe, voluntary, and dignified way,” said the Foreign Minister.
“As such, I underline that a conducive situation at Rakhine State Myanmar must be swiftly realized.”
Covid-19 in ASEAN
Indonesia has the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 cases among the ASEAN Member-States.
The Indonesian government’s official tally for June 30 is 56,385 total confirmed Covid-19 cases having added 1,293 new cases in the past 24 hours.
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