Jakarta, MINA – Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi continues to strive to achieve affordable access to the Covid-19 vaccine for every country. She emphasized this again in a virtual meeting of foreign ministers between ASEAN and Britain on Wednesday.
“It is important for ASEAN and the UK to continue to promote multilateral vaccines that ensure equal access to vaccines and affordable prices, especially during a pandemic,” said Retno at the meeting, as quoted by Kemlu.go.id.
Moreover, the Indonesian Foreign Minister continued, Britain as a member of the UN Security Council must play a deeper role in maintaining multilateralism in order to contribute to world peace, stability, and prosperity.
Agreeing with Retno, British Foreign Minister Dominic Rabb conveyed Britain’s commitment to increasing Astra Zeneca vaccine research and development cooperation with Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand, the UK also conveyed its commitment to contribute to the COVID-19 Response Fund worth 1 million pounds.
In addition, the UK will also provide technical assistance to the ASEAN Secretariat in the amount of 0.5 million pounds, capacity building assistance funds of 4.8 million pounds to strengthen the capacity of health systems in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and assistance worth 0.2 million pounds to support the strengthening of the capacity of the AHA Center.
The Indonesian Foreign Minister appreciated the UK’s commitment and hoped that cooperation would also be directed at strengthening global health governance.
“ASEAN and Britain can also work together to build a new chapter of economic cooperation and reactivate economic activities to secure the global supply chain without sacrificing health protocols,” said Retno.
From 2018 to 2019 there was an increase in trade volume of 2.7 percent and investment growth from the UK to ASEAN of 2.4 percent. The increasing volume of UK trade and investment in ASEAN must be utilized to drive the economy during this pandemic.
Furthermore, Indonesia also encourages the strengthening of digital cooperation, especially for MSMEs through initiatives agreed at the meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers with the UK, namely the UK Digital Trade Network and the UK-ASEAN Digital Business Challenge.
The stability of the Southeast Asian region is of common interest. In this regard, the Indonesian Foreign Minister emphasized that in the future the UK is expected to increase efforts for dialogue, peaceful settlement and mutually beneficial collaboration among various warring parties in the region, in line with the approach contained in the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
Since officially leaving the European Union on January 31, 2020, the UK has committed to a partnership with ASEAN and hopes to become a dialogue partner for ASEAN.
The UK process to become ASEAN dialogue partner is currently still under ASEAN internal discussion.
Organizing the meeting is important in providing a signal to the international community that ASEAN and the UK are choosing to continue working together and collaborating to produce far-reaching efforts to respond to the pandemic. (T/RE1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)