MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. Western countries seek to politicize issues related to the origin of the coronavirus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following a video conference meeting of top diplomats from BRICS countries (Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa) on Tuesday.
"If anyone has additional questions, they should be discussed with other countries within the World Health Organization. Attempts to politicize the current situation are indeed being made. [French] President Macron described what is going on as ‘a vaccine war.’ However, to our great regret and despite the facts, he blamed Russia and China for starting this new world war," he pointed out.
"Politicians should not try to score points and increase their popularity, capitalizing on the situation around the coronavirus pandemic and various vaccines that are undergoing WHO registration procedures. It is clear to us that everyone needs to come together and focus on combating this global challenge instead of pointing fingers," the Russian top diplomat noted.
The US Mission to International Organizations in Geneva issued a statement on May 28, which said that "phase 1 of the WHO-convened COVID-19 origins study was insufficient and inconclusive." "We call for a timely, transparent, evidence-based, and expert-led Phase 2 study," the mission added.
In March, a group of international experts released a report following their visit to China in January and February, aimed at finding out the origin of the novel coronavirus. The experts believe that the virus was most likely transmitted to humans from animals, while chances of the SARS-CoV-2 virus originating from a lab were unlikely.
BRICS countries are ready to step up efforts to create an early pandemic response system, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov added.
"Our partners highlighted their readiness to step up work on Russia’s initiative to create a comprehensive BRICS system to ensure an early response to the risks of infectious disease outbreaks," Lavrov pointed out.
The Russian foreign minister noted that the five countries had expressed solidarity with India and its people amid the current coronavirus situation. "Russia is ready to continue providing assistance to our Indian friends in the fight against this dangerous virus," he added.