The Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions (GDI), UN Representative Cihan Sultanoğlu, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office for the South Caucasus Rudolf Michalka, and EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia Toivo Klaar released a statement on March 31, in which they are calling for “greater cooperation across dividing lines” amid novel coronavirus pandemic.
Commending the efforts of health professionals and others working hard to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Co-Chairs appeal to all GID participants “to put aside mistrust and animosity, avoid antagonistic rhetoric, and work together to reach out to the most vulnerable.”
The Co-Chairs said they “urge all GID participants to do their utmost to protect vulnerable conflict-affected populations, especially women, men and children in areas facing particular isolation.” “These populations need assistance and must not be allowed to suffer even more,” reads the statement.
The Co-Chairs also stressed that they “are encouraged by some collaborative approaches that have already taken place, but more needs to be done to ensure that all people, regardless of where they happen to live or what language they may speak, have equal access to health care.”
“While co-operation across dividing lines, under other circumstances, may be challenging, we appeal to all participants of the GID to set aside differences and ensure that all individuals have the best possible access to testing and treatment,” the Co-Chairs stated.