Wed, 28 Oct 2020

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- Albanian President Ilir Meta on Thursday told the ongoing United Nations virtual summit that his country owed much to the World Health Organization for helping contain COVID-19.

After the COVID-19 hit the country, "the World Health Organization has accompanied our response every step of the way," Meta told the General Debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly via a pre-recorded speech.

"Jointly, the UN has also prepared a socio-economic response plan to ensure coordinated action across the UN, and efficient support to the national response," said the president of the small, mountainous country on the Balkan Peninsula.

"Stronger United Nations is needed to address the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis that is likely to reverse progress towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals," said the president.

He said that Albania's chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for 2020 is "a clear indication" of its commitment to multilateralism. In that capacity, Albania is championing the secretary-general's call for a global ceasefire.

Small countries like Albania can enrich the world through their identity, history, culture and traditions, he said, pointing to interreligious harmony as a hallmark of Albanian culture.

Accession to the European Union remains Albania's main strategic objective, he told the assembly, adding that the government is fully committed to achieving the required benchmarks.

"I, as well as many of you, grew up in peace and prosperity, in a world built on the values and ideas of the United Nations founders," he said. While the organization has failed to prevent all conflicts, the world has clearly been a better place since Oct. 24, 1945 because of the United Nations.

Congratulating "the generation of our parents and our own generation" for keeping it going despite obstacles and wishing today's youth, who are slowly taking over, "the courage and wisdom to do better than us," he quoted the eminent Slovenian novelist Boris Pahor, the oldest known survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, who said that humanity has enough wisdom and power to find a path to lead itself out of its crises.

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