Delegates struck a cautiously hopeful note as the General Assembly completed its special session dedicated to the COVID‑19 pandemic, while stressing the need for multilateral approaches to distributing vaccines and mitigating the pandemic’s wide-ranging fallout.
“Progress on the vaccine has rekindled hope,” said Bahrain’s delegate, noting that Bahrain is the second country in the world to approve its use. Bahrain authorized access to the vaccine for all citizens and residents through a national vaccination plan, he observed.
India’s representative said that his country will use its vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all humanity fight this crisis. It also will help all countries enhance their cold chain and storage capacities to deliver vaccines, he said, pointing out that the crisis has exposed gaps in global cooperation and the governance structures of multilateral organizations. India has a pipeline of vaccines in different stages of development, he said, noting that vaccine candidates COVAXIN and ZyCov-D are under Phase II and Phase III trials. As well, the Serum Institute of India is already conducting final testing of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine.
During the third day of the special session’s general debate, many delegates stressed that broad vaccine access is essential in order to rid the world of COVID‑19. The speaker for Mongolia underscored the importance of affordable, unhindered and equitable access to vaccines by all countries, including landlocked developing States.
Agreeing, Chile’s delegate emphasized that access to the vaccine is key. She recalled that her Government has established an inter-ministerial committee and confirmed its participation in the COVID‑19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility, a mechanism established by the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable distribution worldwide. Chile has also taken steps to provide its population with access to the best options for available vaccines, including through participation in clinical trials and by securing preferential prices and supplies. Global collaboration is the right approach, she added, welcoming initiatives that will enable the international community to respond to pandemics and similar events in the future.
In this context, speakers also warned against protectionism in the fight against COVID‑19 and spotlighted the pandemic’s effects on the multilateral agenda.
“The fight against COVID‑19 should not lead to the severance of cooperation,” said the representative of Belarus. He called for measures to pre-empt the exploitation and stockpiling of personal protective and medical equipment and for States to cooperate in this regard.
Similarly, Costa Rica’s delegate said the right to life and health cannot be subject to financial or political considerations. Her country has joined with a group of States to launch an initiative to share knowledge in the fight against COVID‑19, which will help ensure that vaccines and treatments are accessible to people around the world. She called on States to refrain from using arguments such as national security in order to justify keeping vaccines and other means to combat the illness as “trade secrets”.
Sudan’s representative said the COVID‑19 vaccine must be made accessible to poorer States at a reasonable cost that reflects the current situation. As such, he called for collective initiatives to “rebuild on the ruins” left by the devastating pandemic that has compounded challenges faced by transitional governments.
Also speaking during the general debate were Ministers, senior Government officials and permanent representatives from El Salvador, Syria, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Panama, Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Uruguay, Gambia, Guatemala and Armenia.
Civil society representatives from the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc., United Cities and Local Governments and the Commonwealth Medical Trust also addressed the Assembly. At the outset, a youth delegate from Moldova shared his experience of the pandemic. The Assembly also observed a minute of silent reflection at the close of the session.
The representatives of Azerbaijan, Turkey and Armenia spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Assembly will reconvene at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, 15 December to take up reports of its Sixth Committee (Legal).
Prior to the continuation of the General Debate, a youth delegate from Moldova took the floor to say that the pandemic of joblessness affecting the young people of the world will continue long after COVID‑19. He called on the international community to use the virus as an opportunity to invest in public health infrastructure and pointed out that most COVID-related subsidies are being given to non-renewable energies.
Continuation of General Debate
PATRICIA LEONOR COMANDARI ZANOTTI, Vice‑Minister for Foreign Affairs, Integration and Economic Promotion of El Salvador, said her country’s primary focus, since the beginning of the pandemic, has been on safeguarding human life without discrimination. El Salvador has aimed to reduce infection rates by investing heavily in health system infrastructure improvements, including the establishment of El Salvador Hospital which will be a top tier health centre. Emphasizing the importance of people-centered responses to COVID‑19, she expressed appreciation for the assistance provided to her country thus far, including the provision of hygiene and screening kits, and food and water aid. To avoid backsliding on progress made towards the Sustainable Development Goals, multilateralism must lead the charge to innovation. As a middle-income country, El Salvador has pleaded for continued support to contain the pandemic. Noting that the entire region is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, she said El Salvador has had to tackle parallel challenges during the pandemic, including two destructive hurricanes.
OSAMA AHMED ABDELRAHIM ELKHIDIR, Acting Minister for Health of Sudan, called for collective initiatives to “rebuild on the ruins” left by the devastating COVID‑19 pandemic, which has compounded challenges faced by transitional governments. His Government is attempting to respond to a disastrous socioeconomic situation, he reported, urging the lifting of Security Council sanctions on Sudan, because they are no longer justified. He also called for Sudan’s removal from the list of countries sanctioning terrorism, as well as for debt relief assistance for his country. In this context, he also pointed to large-scale floods that have worsened the pandemic situation there, he said these have led to casualties and tremendous material damage in areas adjacent to the Nile valley. Moreover, Sudan has appointed a committee to address health issues in order to manage pandemic fallout and has also established technical committees in this regard. Specifically addressing COVID-19 treatment, he said 51 centres have been established for quarantining, laboratories have been set up in 13 regions and 10 specialized treatment centres have been set up as well. Regarding the COVID‑19 vaccine, he said it must be made accessible to poorer States at a reasonable cost that reflects the current situation.
SHRI VIKAS SWARUP (India) said the country’s calculated measures aimed to protect its huge population and ensure minimum damage to the economy. Within two months of the pandemic, India had expanded its diagnostic ability from one major facility for pan-India testing to more than 2,000 today. India has become the second-largest manufacturer of personal protective equipment after having nearly no domestic manufacturing. More than 17,000 COVID‑19 facilities were set up with 1.6 million isolation beds. Digital tools, such as the Aarogya Setu App, were developed and are being used effectively for extensive contact tracing. Known for supplying high-quality, affordable vaccines to the developing world, India produces 60 per cent of the vaccines globally. For COVID‑19, India has a pipeline of vaccines in different stages of development. Indian vaccine candidates, COVAXIN and ZyCov-D, are under Phase II and Phase III trials. Manufacturer, Serum Institute of India, is already conducting final testing of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine. India will use its vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all humanity fight this crisis. It also will help all countries enhance their cold chain and storage capacities to deliver vaccines, he said, pointing out that the crisis has exposed gaps in global cooperation and the governance structures of multilateral organizations. Reformed multilateralism should be the international community’s guiding principle.
CAROLINA VALDIVIA TORRES, Vice‑Minister for Foreign Affairs of Chile, said that the pandemic has laid bare limitations in the international community’s coordination and joint work. Her country is looking to the future to see how it can improve its COVID‑19 prevention and response capacities. Access to the vaccine is key. In July, her Government established an inter-ministerial committee that brought its science, health and foreign affairs ministries together, while in September it confirmed its participation in the COVAX mechanism. Chile has also taken steps to provide its population with access to the best options for available vaccines, including through participation in clinical trials and by securing preferential prices and supplies. Global collaboration is the right approach, she said, welcoming initiatives that will enable the international community to respond to pandemics and similar events in the future. In April, Chile noted that there should be a new global instrument for preparation and response to pandemics, and this idea already enjoys support from some Governments.
KOUSSAY ALDAHHAK (Syria) said the challenges caused by COVID‑19 are not only a threat to human health but undermine the global economy and damage vital sectors, including education. There is an urgent need to review the mechanisms of collective action, he stressed, calling on some Member States to review their practices of collective punishment. International efforts to address the pandemic have been politicized and undermined. Syria has long suffered because certain countries have politicized humanitarian relief and development issues there. Despite difficult conditions caused by the virus, some Member States continue to impose unilateral measures, thereby reducing his Government’s capacity to address the pandemic, he said. He went on to call for enhanced international efforts to combat challenges to international peace and security, including terrorism, the exploitation of resources and illegal occupation of territory. Even though refugees and internally displaced persons have been severely affected by COVID‑19, some host countries exploit their cause as a tool to blackmail the European Union or to pressure the Syrian Government.
ARTSIOM TOZIK (Belarus) said that the pandemic is having an inevitable impact on the multilateral agenda. He highlighted the need to coordinate United Nations efforts to provide support to all afflicted countries as well as the need for a global ceasefire in this context. The nefarious practice of unilateral coercive measures and the imposition of sanctions is especially perilous under these circumstances, he pointed out, noting that such actions merely worsen the situation given States’ heightened need for medicines and medical equipment. As such, international monitoring under the aegis of the United Nations is needed to examine the effect of such sanctions. “The fight against COVID‑19 should not lead to the severance of cooperation,” he said, calling for bolstered social safety nets, the fine-tuning of health-care systems and the boosting of diagnostic and treatment methods. He also urged measures to pre-empt the exploitation and stockpiling of personal protective and medical equipment and for States to cooperate in this regard.
MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan) said the pandemic is a universal misfortune that affects all areas of life and can only be overcome through the mobilization of resources by the international community as a whole. The health crisis has resulted in a recession which is exacerbated by Tajikistan’s status as a landlocked developing country, making it more vulnerable to cross-border restrictions and border closures. To counter the effects of an expected loss of $2 billion due to the pandemic, the Government is ensuring the consistent and sustainable operation of all socioeconomic sectors. “It is crucial to use all the opportunities for cooperation available at national, regional and global levels to transform challenges into new opportunities in order to recover better,” he concluded.
ENKHBOLD VORSHILOV (Mongolia) underscored the vital importance of affordable, unhindered and equitable access to vaccines by all countries, including landlocked developing States. Underscoring the Government of Mongolia’s commitment to fight the pandemic, he said that until 11 November, when the country’s first case of local transmission was recorded, its containment strategy had been rather effective. Today, Mongolia has 912 confirmed cases, of which 384 recovered, and while there have been no pandemic-related deaths, an estimated 8,000 jobs have been lost and many Mongolians are stranded abroad. After four weeks of lockdown, the economy is reopening step-by-step, while the Government has decided to write off water, heat and electricity bills for citizens and private enterprises for the coming months.
MIRGUL MOLDOISAEVA (Kyrgyzstan) noted that her country’s geographic location heightened its vulnerability during the pandemic which has had devastating socioeconomic and human rights implications across the globe. “We need to tackle discrimination and hate speech and foster the engagement of a wide range of actors,” she said, adding that only through such actions can the international community mount a unified approach to address the health crisis. Coordination in the development, production and distribution of equipment and medications must be strengthened and vaccines must be made available to all countries, she stated, concluding that “only through joint efforts can we confront future pandemics and other global challenges, and the United Nations should be at the centre of our efforts”.
GHASAQ YOUSIF ABDALLA SHAHEEN (United Arab Emirates) said that her country has done everything possible at the national level to address COVID‑19. She affirmed the importance of international cooperation in lessons learned, noting that no effort should be spared to limit the fallout of the pandemic pending the distribution of vaccines. It is incumbent on the international community to be clear-sighted on the socioeconomic consequences of COVID‑19 throughout the world, she said, noting that the United Arab Emirates has undertaken initiatives with Governments that have set aside political considerations. Her country has proffered medical assistance to more than 120 countries and has also been a pioneer in providing humanitarian assistance. In addition, the United Arab Emirates is a hub in the global response to help countries in need. She called for robust international cooperation to contain the pandemic through the exchange of knowledge, data, best practices and guidelines.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) said developing and poor countries have been the most severely affected by the pandemic, especially in conflict or post-conflict areas. Yemen’s already strained health sector has become more vulnerable as a result of COVID‑19. Nevertheless, the Yemeni Government has enacted major policies to fight the virus, despite attempts by militias to conceal the true nature of the disease and the infection rates in the country. Expressing support for the Secretary‑General’s call for a global ceasefire, he announced that Yemen would establish a two-week renewable ceasefire. While the pandemic offers an opportunity to silence the weapons, the Houthi militias have thus far refused to cooperate. The Yemeni Government plans to address the pandemic with the support of the United Nations and Saudi Arabia, he said, warning that the prolonged conflict there has already pushed many families beneath the poverty threshold.
MARKOVA CONCEPCIÓN JARAMILLO (Panama) said 2020 has been a highly charged year and international cooperation has been more evident than ever. Facing the prospects of slowed economic growth, her country is expecting to face unprecedented after-effects of the COVID‑19 pandemic on social, economic and health fronts. “We need new frameworks and a paradigm shift in all sectors,” she emphasized, noting that her Government has been recognized for its excellence in digital governance. Moreover, she pointed out that, for many women, the pandemic lockdown meant more caregiving work without pay with gender-based violence in the backdrop. Also, the crisis is having a deep impact on children’s mental health and well-being and investment in early childhood education continues to be a priority for her Government. A global response based on renewed multilateral cooperation is needed to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this context, Panama served as a regional humanitarian logistics hub and was used by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to distribute medical equipment and aid to the entire region. Moreover, detailing maritime needs, she recalled that her country helped a large number of seafarers to be repatriated through the Panama Canal.
NEVILLE GERTZE (Namibia) said the pandemic has exposed the digital divide, particularly for children in rural areas whom have no access to online learning. The international community needs to explore ways to decrease and eliminate that divide. Nationally, his Government activated the National Health Emergency Coordination Committee and introduced the Incident Management System. It also strengthened its National Public Health Emergency Operation Centre, which has become the central base for all COVID‑19 responders operating at the national level. To deal with massive economic and financial losses, the Government also introduced an economic stimulus and relief package, which included the Emergency Income Grant. This grant provided a basic income to individuals out-of-work because of the pandemic and a mix of financial tools for businesses, including wage subsidy, accelerated repayment of value-added tax, Government guaranteed loan schemes and other measures. He urged the international community to pull together in the spirit of multilateralism to defeat COVID‑19 and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, in order to safeguard global peace and the human dignity of every man, woman and child.
JAMAL FARES ALROWAIEI (Bahrain) said that the pandemic has exposed the need for the international community to address threats and to bolster capacity to pre-empt such risks in the future. In order to address this challenge, there must be a global approach rooted in the protection of human rights and the achievement of sustainable development. Bahrain has sought to address the pandemic from the outset and to promote cooperation with States and relevant organizations. It has also stepped up its efforts to contain the virus and has established an emergency plan and measures in line with the best prevention and treatment-related practices. It has done so in order to safeguard the health of all the citizens and residents of Bahrain, he said, noting that this has positioned it among those States that have dealt with the crisis in an exemplary way. “Progress on the vaccine has rekindled hope,” he said, noting that Bahrain is the second country in the world to approve its use. It has authorized access to the vaccine for all citizens and residents through a national vaccination plan.
ANATOLIO NDONG MBA (Equatorial Guinea) highlighted measures his country undertook to contain the coronavirus, including the establishment of a political committee to coordinate the response, a national multisectoral technical committee in-line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and an aggressive awareness raising campaign. The Government also set up an emergency fund, trained health personnel on case management and contact tracing and created isolation units for suspected cases. The massive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing strategy was effective in determining the spread of the virus and Equatorial Guinea has reported positive recovery rates. The vaccines approved for use should not be a chance to gain profit, he stressed, saying that it must be made affordable and accessible to all countries.
CARLOS AMORÍN (Uruguay) said that multilateral institutions represent the natural forum to address and seek solutions to global challenges such as the COVID‑19 pandemic because they play a fundamental coordination role in managing medium- and long‑term impacts. In particular, international cooperation must play a role in science and innovation to tackle post‑pandemic challenges. As such, he called for equitable access to health technologies — including medicines and vaccines — through the pooling of knowledge, intellectual property and data to detect, treat and respond to COVID‑19. His country’s response took an epidemiology‑based approach relying heavily on science, and the country was able to resume work, reopen schools and hold events. Uruguay also focused on preventive social and physical isolation, the use of masks and personal hygiene measures and primary health care at home to optimize resources. Moreover, it joined the COVAX mechanism to ensure that all countries have access to the COVID‑19 vaccine based on the premise that no one is safe until everyone is safe. States must avoid falling into protectionism and nationalism, which could impact international trade as well as interrupt supply chains and the flow of necessary medical supplies. This is especially true for developing countries such as Uruguay, he observed.
MARITZA CHAN VALVERDE (Costa Rica) said that the international community has learned many lessons from the pandemic, including the centrality of investing in unified health systems. Improving health architecture, with WHO at the forefront of those efforts, is a priority. There should be a focus on prevention. For Costa Rica, the right to life and health cannot be subject to financial or political considerations. For that reason, her country has joined with a group of States to launch an initiative to share knowledge in the fight against COVID‑19, which will help ensure that vaccines and treatments are accessible to people around the world. She called on States to refrain from using arguments such as national security in order to justify keeping vaccines and other means to combat the illness as “trade secrets.” The most vulnerable should be protected, she said.
LANG YABOU (Gambia) said the COVID‑19 crisis has led to a slowdown across all sectors of the Gambian economy and put vulnerable families at further risk. The crisis has delayed the implementation of national development plans and will negatively impact the country’s ability to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Gambia’s health‑care system is under enormous stress, he warned, adding that a global problem of this magnitude requires a global response. The pandemic has put unprecedented strain on developing countries’ fragile health‑care systems. As such, health and development systems must be strengthened to increase cross‑border cooperation, he said, calling for increased support for developing countries from the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO. While Gambia undertook a number of measures to support the most vulnerable, hard‑fought gains in the education sector are in danger because of school closures. He went on to call on the United Nations to facilitate equitable access to the newly arrived COVID‑19 vaccine and said mechanisms and arrangements must be put in place to ensure fair and equitable distribution.
LUIS ANTONIO LAM PADILLA (Guatemala) said the COVID‑19 pandemic is also a humanitarian, socioeconomic and security crisis. It has exacerbated inequalities even in the most industrialized economies, severely impacting the most poor and vulnerable people. Given these difficult times, he pointed to the need for revitalized multilateralism as well as just and immediate access to vaccines. He also spotlighted the need for a stronger first line of medical care, calling on all partners to contribute to strengthening the global health care system. As such, he pointed to the establishment of respiratory well-being centres in his country as well as contact tracing efforts, also highlighting the important role played by grandmothers in indigenous communities in remote areas. Commending the WHO and the Pan-American Health Organization, he said specialized agencies must continue to work in a coordinated manner with States. He also called for the preservation of the environment, noting that harmful actions have long-term impacts. In this context, he pointed to the recent occurrence of two hurricanes within two weeks in his region.
MHER MARGARYAN (Armenia) said that COVID‑19 and the human suffering it has engendered is a collective test of unprecedented magnitude and scope that requires an urgent response focused on tangible outcomes. Unfortunately, the Assembly’s special session on COVID‑19 does little in this regard. From its outset, Armenia has questioned the added value and integrity of the Assembly’s initiative. The statement made on 3 December by the President of Azerbaijan, who also is the Chair of the Non‑Aligned Movement, has exposed the true motivation of a country that has chosen to instrumentalize the pandemic as a platform to promote a dictatorial leader and hatred. There can be nothing humanitarian about the intentions of a country that has launched a large‑scale war against Nagorno‑Karabakh in the middle of a pandemic. The Nagorno‑Karabakh ceasefire announcement on 9 November and the deployment of the Russian Federation peacekeeping forces was instrumental in the establishment of a durable ceasefire. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan and Turkey are making every attempt to prioritize aggression over peace and recovery. The show that was staged in Baku on 10 December under the name of “victory parade” featured brazen territorial claims of areas of Armenia, including its capital, by the President of Azerbaijan, and the statement of the President of Turkey featured open threats and glorification of the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide by clearly demonstrating a genocidal intent.
HARMALA GUPTA, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, said he founded an organization called CanSupport to fill the gap in care in India for people with advanced diseases, many of whom die at home in great suffering and indignity. Noting reports that palliative care has been severely disrupted by the pandemic, he encouraged Member States to collaborate with national palliative care organizations to integrate these services into planning for pandemic response and preparedness. He also recalled the ethical obligation of Governments to ensure adequate access to controlled essential medicines during the pandemic, as underlined by a joint statement issued by WHO, the International Narcotics Control Board and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “Compassion is necessary but is not enough”, he stressed, adding that competent care must be available to patients no matter who they are. The Association is ready to share its expertise with all relevant actors, he assured.
Mr. BOUDRA, representative of United Cities and Local Governments, called for increased support for local health systems and for the international community to ensure universal access to health services. COVID‑19 recovery efforts must promote democratic renewal and prioritize green recovery, he said. A new and more inclusive multilateral system must be established to ensure local governments are engaged and involved.
MARIANNE HASLEGRAVE, Director of Commonwealth Medical Trust, said that civil society organizations such as hers have a significant role to play in post-pandemic recovery efforts. They can ensure that marginalized people and those in the most vulnerable situations are not left behind in a shift towards new systemic approaches which are grounded in human rights and justice. Noting the pandemic’s toll on woman and an upsurge in domestic violence, she said that older persons have been disproportionately affected, suffering loneliness in care homes or dying alone on ventilators. Hard-won gains to bring down maternal and child mortality rates have been set back and access to services for sexual and reproductive health and rights hindered, leading to more teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions and child marriage. Going forward, she called for a comprehensive paradigm shift, supported by adequate and equitable financing, centred on the well-being of all, including those working in the informal economy and the homeless. Public health systems must be strengthened, and essential medicines and treatments made available and accessible to all, she added.
Right of Reply
The representative of Azerbaijan, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the representative of Armenia has misused the debate to make groundless statements. It is yet another attempt by Armenia to mislead the international community. The statement made raises several questions. She asked whether the representative, whose country has perpetrated aggression against her country, occupied its territory and committed war crimes, realized how absurd his narrative sounded. She also asked whether Armenia cared about its image. There is nothing surprising in the efforts of Armenia to undermine this special session. The recent 44‑day war shows Armenia’s disregard for international law. The immunity Armenia has enjoyed for more than 30 years has created a sense of permissiveness.
The representative of Turkey said he was responding to the misleading statement of Armenia and he refuted that delegation’s allegations. Turkey has adopted a principle position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and continues to support a solution to the problem on the basis of international law. He reminded Armenia of its obligation under the Charter of the United Nations to uphold all relevant Security Council resolutions. Armenia’s use of foreign terrorist fighters and mercenaries is also well documented. He regretted that the representative of Syria did not hesitate to politicize the discussion on COVID‑19 with regard to Turkey. Syria lost its legitimacy long ago and he will not honour that country’s delegation with a reply.
The representative of Armenia said that the statement made by the representative of Azerbaijan is aimed at concealing responsibility for the military aggression against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh in a period when the whole world is focused on the pandemic. The scale of the aggression conducted by Azerbaijan and Turkey clearly indicate that the aggression was well prepared. Azerbaijan has never made a secret of its goal to resolve the conflict by using force. The hostile statement made by Azerbaijan in the General Assembly hall revealing genocidal intent against Armenians is illustrative. Throughout 44 days of aggression, Azerbaijan launched air bombardments on more than 177 settlements. These attacks resulted in the killing of dozens of civilians. Responding to the representative of Turkey, he said that its recruitment and transfer of foreign terrorist fighters has been documented by Governments, observers on the ground and international media.
The representative of Azerbaijan said Armenia’s lies are to deter focus from its crimes. Azerbaijan’s support of the Secretary‑General’s call for a global ceasefire is well documented, she said. Regarding comments on human rights, the Armenian delegation should look inward, where the ruling party has come to power through violence. The new Government accused its predecessors of corrupt rule, but under what grounds should the current authorities be regarded differently, she wondered.
The representative of Turkey highlighted that the outbreak of hostilities in the region was the result of provocations by Armenia, which has acted in flagrant violation of international law and brought the region to where it is today.
The representative of Armenia said Azerbaijan’s commitment to the Secretary‑General’s ceasefire appeal was post factum. The fact that Turkey supported Azerbaijan’s fight from the beginning is well documented. Attacks on Armenia’s human rights record come from a country where elections are marked by fraud or violence, he said. Moreover, Azerbaijan has become a safe haven for terrorists.