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Priority is to join efforts in the fight against coronavirus, Putin tells virtual APEC summit

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Russian President Vladimir Putin called for global unity behind the efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, which was held online on Friday.

He reminded that Russia created and registered two safe and effective vaccines – "Sputnik V" and "EpiVacCorona" with a third one in the final stages of trials.

Putin said that Moscow was actively working with its partners on possible shipping of the vaccines and the localisation of their production.

"We can see that the pandemic has led to really serious problems in the majority of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The number of the coronavirus cases in the Asia-Pacific countries exceeded 26 million, and 56 million around the world, according to WHO. The infection and its complications claim more and more lives. Alarming trends are seen in the economy and the social sphere," said the Russian president.

Following the summit, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the leaders of the APEC countries signed a document defining the development of the region for the next 20 years.

*SOUNDBITES*

SOT, Vladimir Putin, Russian President: "Obviously, the issue of priority is joining efforts in the fight against the coronavirus, which Mr. Chairman has just said about. And Russia has something to offer our partners and friends. We have a lot of scientific and clinical data as well as clinical experience in this area. I would like to remind you that two vaccines - "Sputnik V" and "EpiVacCorona" were created and registered in Russia. Another one, the third vaccine is now going through the last stage of trials. We are actively working with our partners, discussing possibilities of shipping them and localising the production. Both vaccines correspond to two important criteria. They are completely safe and effective. The only question is to start the mass production. We are already doing that in Russia. We can see that the pandemic has led to really serious problems in the majority of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The number of the coronavirus cases in the Asia-Pacific countries exceeded 26 million, and 56 million around the world, according to WHO. The infection and its complications claim more and more lives. Alarming trends are seen in the economy and the social sphere. Due to the slump in industrial production and financial turmoil - the head of the IMF has already said this - tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into poverty. Global GDP is projected to contract by 4.4 percent in 2020, while the total GDP of the APEC economies will contract by 2.5 percent. We, in Russia, will also have a decline, approximately, according to our estimates, 3.9 percent. The indicators of the international trade have decreased by more than 15 percent over the past six months. There is an escalation of economic contradictions between the leading players in the market. The negative moments that we noted allow us to objectively assess the real state of affairs and, of course, encourage the international community to unite and even more energetically engage in joint work to rectify the current situation." *MULTIPLE SHOTS AT SOURCE*

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