NEW YORK (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday that the World Health Organization should be strengthened to coordinate the global response to the coronavirus pandemic and proposed a high-level conference on vaccine cooperation.
“We are proposing to hold an online high-level conference shortly for countries interested in cooperation in the development of anti-coronavirus vaccines,” Putin said.
“We are ready to share experience and continue cooperating with all states and international entities, including in supplying the Russian vaccine which has proved reliable, safe, and effective, to other countries,” he said.
Russia was the first country to grant regulatory approval for a novel coronavirus vaccine, and did so before large-scale trials were complete, stirring concern among scientists and doctors about the safety and efficacy of the shot.
Several countries are now considering adopting emergency measures that would fast-track approval of a vaccine in a similar way, however.
Putin took a veiled swipe at the United States, saying that removing “illegitimate sanctions” would help the world recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“In general, freeing the world trade from barriers, bans, restrictions and illegitimate sanctions would be of great help in revitalizing global growth and reducing unemployment,” he said.
Putin also proposed that leading space powers sign a binding agreement that would ban “the placement of weapons in outer space, threat or use of force against outer space objects.”
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Andrew Osborne; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Rosalba O’Brien)