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UK’s Raab: Some Countries Uses Vaccines As A Geopolitical Tool

UK’s Raab: Some Countries Uses Vaccines As A Geopolitical Tool
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By Staff, Agencies

British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Friday there was no doubt some countries were using vaccines as diplomatic tool to secure influence, and that Britain did not support so called 'vaccine diplomacy.

Asked whether he was concerned that China and Russia could use vaccines in exchange for influence in parts of the world, he said: "There's no doubt there's some of this is going about, and we don't support vaccine diplomacy, let alone blackmail.

"We think that we've got a moral duty, but also a strong vested interest in getting the world vaccinated," Raab said, speaking on the sidelines of a G7 summit in Cornwall, England.

He further mentioned that "We would only think it was responsible to be promoting vaccines that the WHO has sanctioned as safe to distribute.”

"But it's a team effort. And we want the countries like China and Russia to come together to tackle the problems of pandemic, but also climate change, and also to respect the basic principles of international law."

China currently has two WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines, while a Russian-developed shot is awaiting approval. Russia said last week it expected that approval in the next couple of months.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expects the G7 to agree to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries during its summit, and help inoculate the world by the end of next year. The United States has promised to donate 500 million doses with no strings attached.

Raab said Britain's contribution would also come with no strings attached, with at least 80% being distributed by the COVAX international vaccine initiative.

In parallel, he stated that “the rest would be provided to strategic close countries where we have a particular relationship, and no, we don't insist on conditionality.”

Raab also said he would be speaking to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov 'shortly', without giving a specific date for the meeting. He declined to comment on issues he would raise at that meeting.

Nevertheless, Raab criticized Russia as a leading proponent of cyber-attacks, calling for the G7 to take a united stand against all such incidents, whether conducted by state or non-state actors. “These activities are contrary to international law, many of them, and they're very damaging, some of them are done for pure theft, or for profit, others are done just to create havoc.”