Indonesia’s foreign minister said the world cannot defeat COVID-19 if African countries are denied access to quality health services.
Rabat – Indonesia and Morocco have agreed to coordinate their efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi announced yesterday.
“Indonesia and Morocco have agreed to work together through the Ministerial Coordination Group on Covid-19, as well as through other international forums, to face the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in Africa,” said Marsudi during a videoconference based in Jakarta.
She stressed that the world cannot definitively defeat the global pandemic if countries are left behind, particularly African states. The Indonesian FM underlined the right of developing countries to access quality health services and the COVID-19 vaccine, as soon as scientists can develop it.
The minister added that Indonesia’s efforts to counter the global spread of the virus include cooperation with 111 international partners, 11 countries, 12 international organizations, and 88 non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
With 20,162 cases of the virus, including 4,838 recoveries and 1,278 deaths, Indonesia is one of the leading countries in East Asia in terms of COVID-19 figures. The country’s government expects the epidemic to fade after peaking this month and hopes to reopen the economy by July. Marsudi did not detail when the country expects to open its borders to foreign nationals.
Morocco and Indonesia enjoy warm diplomatic ties but pledged in October 2019 to further solidify cooperation on a range of issues, including education and culture.
On October 28, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita led a working visit to Jakarta, where he met with Indonesian Vice President Maaruf Amin and Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives Puan Maharani.
Bourita underlined the need to nurture the socio-cultural ties between the two nations and said Morocco intends to increase the number of scholarships and study grants to Indonesian students.
He also expressed Morocco’s commitment to working with Indonesia, the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, to promote a tolerant and moderate interpretation of Islam.
In December 2019, Morocco’s House of Councillors President Hakim Benchamach announced that Morocco is ready to work with Indonesia to build a league of senates and consultative “shura” councils that would promote a positive image of Islam and defend against offenses targeting Muslim people or the religion of Islam.
The two countries formalized their bilateral relationship in 1960 during a visit to Morocco by President Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president and a pioneering figure in the Afro-Asian Non-aligned and anti-colonial movements. A street in Rabat, “Rue Soekarno,” bears his name.
Morocco and Indonesia mark their 60th anniversary of bilateral relations this year and have each reiterated their hopes to strengthen an already “excellent” partnership.
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