- Title: UK's Raab: No doubt some countries are using vaccines as a geopolitical tool
- Date: 11th June 2021
- Summary: ST IVES, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JUNE 11, 2021) (REUTERS) BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, DOMINIC RAAB, WALKING INTO INTERVIEW RAAB STANDING (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, DOMINIC RAAB, SAYING: "There's no doubt there's some of this going about. And we don't support vaccine diplomacy, let alone blackmail. We think that we've got a moral duty, but also strong vested interest in getting the world vaccinated because we know no one is safe until we're all safe." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, DOMINIC RAAB, SAYING: "So, no, the minimum of 80 percent will be going to COVAX. We never put anything into COVAX with strings attached. The residue from that will be provided to strategic, close countries where we have a particular relationship with - and no we don't insist on conditionality in relation to that." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, DOMINIC RAAB, SAYING: "Well, I'm planning, I think, to speak to (Russian) Foreign Minister Lavrov shortly. But look, we don't have any evidence, but of course, the relationship between Belarus and Russia is so, so close that it's difficult to imagine. But we don't have any direct evidence. I made that clear last time. What we're focussed on is the Lukashenko regime, the flouting of the basic principles of civil aviation, the attack on independent journalists, the attack on human rights and holding Belarus to its international obligations. So we're supporting civil society in Belarus. We're placing sanctions. I'm looking actively at what further sanctions we place on the regime. But we need Belarus to step up and live up to the basic fundamental cardinal rules of international law. At the moment, they're slipping more and more into pariah status." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, DOMINIC RAAB, SAYING: "I think it's important that the G7 and our guests who reflect the Indo-Pacific region, as well as South Africa, stand up for the values that we share, stand up for multilateralism, stand up to the rules-based international order. There are global problems we can only tackle together. We want China on board to deal with climate change so that we can tackle that together. We can't deal with climate change unless we can bring China on board. We really need to be very clear about some of the hostile state activity that Russia has been engaged in, particularly, for example, cyber attacks. And I think we ought to be clear as an international community that cyber attacks on hospitals, on schools, on critical national infrastructure, that's wrong. That's unjustifiable. It's beyond the pale. So I think standing up for the international order, being clear about the rules that apply, being clear about the values that apply, and being clear to both Russia and China as leading members of the international community, they must live up to their responsibilities. That's a pretty important message to come out of this G7." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, DOMINIC RAAB, SAYING: "Look, we when it comes to cyber, we've seen a whole range of state and non-states getting involved in attacking schools, attacking health care systems. We saw the attack on the US pipeline recently. Now, some of these are by non-state criminal gangs. Others are by state actors. I would say Russia is one of the leading proponents of cyber attacks. 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. But it's clearly wrong. And I think one of the things we can do at the G7 is stand up shoulder-to-shoulder with the basic values of decency and make sure international law in this new technical age is fit for purpose." WHITE FLASH (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, DOMINIC RAAB, SAYING: "Well, I'm not going to get into the detail of my conversation with Russia. What I would say is we want a good relationship. We want a positive, constructive relationship with Russia. But on everything from the build up on the border with Ukraine that we saw recently to the the chemical weapons attack, which is what it was with Novichok on Alexei Navalny. We need Russia to step up and live up to the international responsibilities that come with being a permanent member of the UN Security Council."
- Embargoed: 25th June 2021 10:27
- Keywords: Cornwall Dominic Raab G7 summit Raab at G7 summit UK
- Location: CARBIS BAY, ENGLAND, UK
- City: CARBIS BAY, ENGLAND, UK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Europe,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001EGYK5S7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Friday (June 11) 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 in a Reuters interview whether he was concerned that China and Russia could use vaccines in exchange for influence in parts of the world, he said while there were instances of it occurring around the world, Britain did not "support vaccine diplomacy, let alone blackmail."
Speaking on the sidelines of the G7 Summit, Raab said the battle against the pandemic was a "team effort" that required participation from both China and Russia.
China currently has two WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines, while a Russian-developed shot is waiting 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 percent being distributed by the COVAX international vaccine initiative.
He said 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," he said.
"We ought to be clear as an international community that cyber attacks on hospitals, on schools, on critical national infrastructure - that's wrong. That's unjustifiable, it's beyond the pale."
Asked about the recent forced landing of a civilian aircraft in Belarus, Raab said the country was slipping "into pariah status."
"We need Belarus to step up and live up to the basic, fundamental, cardinal rules of international law," he said.
(Production: Will Russell, Ben Dangerfield)
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