Sri Lankan PM calls for greater int'l cooperation to overcome COVID-19

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COLOMBO, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged closer international cooperation among all countries so that they can survive the COVID-19 pandemic and resume normal life, local media reported Monday.

Speaking at the G20 Interfaith Forum in Bologna, in Northern Italy, Rajapaksa said the grave health crisis that the world is experiencing at this time underlined the bonds for all countries to get united.

"COVID-19 makes no distinction among religions, nationalities and civilizations. It strikes a deadly blow to all humanity. In order to survive the pandemic and resume our lives once more, international cooperation needs to be strengthened," Rajapaksa said while addressing the forum.

Vaccines and other protection, made possible by modern medicine, must be available across the globe, with firm arrangements in place for less affluent nations to be assisted by international organizations and countries with stronger economies.

"It is a battle that has to be won, not by some, but by all," Rajapaksa said.

The Sri Lankan prime minister further said that while it may be legitimate for countries to close their borders temporarily to contain the virus, isolation is not the answer.

"One of the realities of the world in which we live is the free movement of goods, services, and people across national frontiers," he said.

"Migration in search of a better life is challenged by conditions prevailing today, but employment opportunities on an equitable basis must continue to be available freely," Rajapaksa noted.

The 2021 G20 Interfaith Forum is being held from Sept. 12 to Sept. 14 in Bologna under the theme "Time to Heal: Peace Among Cultures, Understanding Between Religions."

Rajapaksa's office said he will meet other world leaders on the sidelines of the forum to strengthen bilateral ties with several nations. Enditem

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