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Vietnam asks Taoiseach for assistance in sourcing Covid-19 vaccines

The Taoiseach held a number of bilateral meetings at the UN in New York today.

Taoiseach meets with Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Taoiseach meets with Vietnam President Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Image: @MichealMartinTD/Twitter

VIETNAM HAS ASKED for Ireland’s assistance in sourcing Covid-19 vaccines.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin met with the Vietnam president Nguyen Xuan Phuc today at the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly today in New York.

It is understood the Taoiseach said he would take the request back to the EU.

He is understood to have told the president that the EU realise that there is a big demand for vaccines globally.

The Taoiseach told the president that Ireland is committed to COVAX – the worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The EU is only region that does not ban exporting vaccines and so far has exported 750 million. The Taoiseach said the EU is committed to review COVAX to expedite the distribution of vaccines.

Micheál Martin also met the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this afternoon, where they discussed the progress with vaccines, as well as COVAX and the need to speed up global distribution.

The discussion also focused on the relationship between the EU and US.

Both leaders said the US commitment to double support to address climate change in developing nations is a major step forward.

Speaking to reporters in New York, Martin said both the UN Secretary General and US President Joe Biden gave strong presentations.

He said Biden is a “committed multilateralist at heart”.

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“There is no doubt about that. We see him as a very strategic asset and support for our agenda in international affairs in particular on issues like climate change and Covid-19 and defending the idea of democracy and pushing back against authoritarianism,” he said.

The Taoiseach took part in a number of bilateral meetings and meetings on the fringes of today’s ceremony, meeting with the prime ministers of Barbados, Norway, Bangladesh as well as presidents of Nigeria, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Latvia, and Libya. 

He also met with the Colombian president Iván Duque Márquez where is it believed the discussion focused on the peace process which is five years old. 

It was noted during the meeting that it is a “sensitive time”, but it is understood there was full praise for former Labour leader and Tánaiste, Eamon Gilmore’s work in the country. Gilmore was an EU Special Envoy for the Peace Process in Colombia. 

The Taoiseach is also attending a session later today on the issue of women in conflict.

Later this evening, the Taoiseach will attend a dedication ceremony for the new building of the Irish Arts Centre in Manhattan.

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