Kazakhstan (IP) - COVID-19 pandemic challenge has been compounded by barbaric economic terrorism against Iranian, Iran's Foreign Minister said, calling it a grave crime against humanity.

Iran Press/Asia: Speaking at the 19th D-8 Council of Ministers Meeting on 7 April 2021, Mohammad Javad Zarif said: "The international community is still facing the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19 pandemic. For Iran, the challenge has been compounded by barbaric economic terrorism against the great Iranian nation, a grave crime against humanity."

"As the international community eagerly wants to consign the coronavirus to the dustbin of history, the pandemic has taught us some valuable lessons. We learned that how a health crisis can easily lead to an economic crisis, a humanitarian crisis, an education crisis, a food security crisis, an inequality crisis, leaving a disproportionate toll on developing and least developed countries," he added.

"Concurrently, we also learned how a global crisis could unleash the blessings of solidarity among nations. Let me seize this opportunity to value support the Islamic Republic of Iran received from our brotherly D-8 countries during the time of pandemic and amid unlawful and cruel sanctions."

"Another lesson we have learned is that the enhanced cooperation among countries and regions is the optimal choice should the international community wish to set the stage for shared challenges that loom ahead," Iran's top diplomat noted.

"Multilateral mechanism, including the D-8, provide us with a pool of choices to make," he said.

Referring to the potential frameworks within the D-8, Zarif added: "This is also very important and pertinent as we are about to finalize the D-8 Decennial Roadmap."

"1. Trade: The target of 20 percent Intra-D8 trade by 2030 will be in our reach if the existing preferential trade agreement along with some supplemented arrangements (in terms of customs, finance and micro-finance, banking, digital capacities, etc.) are implemented. Our governments shall take the role of enabler, and our private sectors and SMEs shall be taken on board," he said.

"2. Connectivity: Notwithstanding the geographical remoteness of some D-8 countries, D-8 can be an interconnected body of countries. This can be and should be realized in terms of, among others, multi-modal transport and port cooperation; cultural affinity and tourism; and business-to-business connectivity," noted Iran's foreign minister.

"3. Human and technological capitals: We are grateful to the host country for its vigilance to make “harnessing the power of youth and technology” as the theme of this COM and Summit meetings. Our relevant ministers in charge of youth gathered together this week and discussed cooperation on this issue of great importance to our countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been active in two D-8 human and technology-related programs. We are hosting the “D-8 International University” in Hamadan and the “D-8 Technology Transfer and Exchange Network” in Tehran. We welcome any idea to enhance these two initiatives," he added.

In the end, he voiced Iran's full support of collective work to realize the D-8 noble goals and objectives. 


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