Russia’s Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova was also present at the meeting.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tedros Adhanom and Ms Amina Mohammed, I am pleased to once again welcome you to Russia.
I would like to thank you for supporting the idea to hold a conference on TB control in Russia. This is not the first WHO event of this scale that is being held in this country. Back in 2014, we held a similarly large international conference on tobacco control.
Russia has been a member of the World Health Organisation since 1948, I think, or perhaps 1949, and we have been active in this organisation since then. In 2009, our country signed an agreement on interaction with the WHO, and a strategy for cooperation with the WHO for the period up until 2020, is being currently implemented.
We plan to continue to cooperate with you in the most active manner. We hope that the UN in the broadest sense of the word – we are pleased to have First Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations here – will support this work in every possible way, and it will benefit both Russians and all citizens of the countries who are members of the UN.
First Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed: Thank you very much, Mr President. I bring the greetings, of course, of the Secretary-General. As the Deputy Secretary-General responsible for the SDGs, we are really, really pleased and congratulate you on hosting the meeting for TB. Not just because of tuberculosis, but you are talking about ending it. This I think is a historical turn in trying to get TB ended. But it is a good building block too for the ambition that we will get in September at the General Assembly. The level of attendance at this conference signals a good declaration. So we are very happy to support this, and we look forward to the next year where, of course, Dr Tedros will be ensuring that we get a good high-level meeting in New York at the General Assembly.
It is underscoring the importance of the new era of the Sustainable Development Agenda. It is one that is universal. An so the leadership and the support that we see Russia giving to many of the agencies of the UN currently, such as UNHCR, UNDP – these are all for us signals of the way the world can come together better to solve many of the complex challenges that we have.
Maybe if you allow me, we have had the privilege of having Dr Tedros join us as a former minister of health and foreign affairs, and a track record where we know the partnership with the WHO will only get better universally. So maybe you would like to say a few words about this as well.
Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: Thank you, Your Excellency.
First of all, thank you so much for gracing us with your presence despite your busy schedule. This shows your commitment. And thank you also for your message, which is really energy and inspiration for us. Very brief, but to the point and strong. And this will give us energy in going forward towards the preparation of the high-level meeting in New York in 2018 on the margins of the UN General Assembly.
During the UN General Assembly in 2018, we expect real commitment from the member states, and I believe you will continue leadership on the implementation of this declaration.
As you know, my “sister” Veronika Skvortsova is now the president of our assembly. And she also has that leverage also. Together we will do our best to make this a success and to support you under your leadership. But not only on TB. I also commend you on your leadership on non-communicable diseases. There was a conference here in 2011. It is when it all started. And now we are aiming also to have a high-level meeting in 2018 for non-communicable diseases. And Russia is one of the leaders in pushing this agenda with Uruguay and also Finland. We commend you for that leadership, and we expect also that to be strengthened from Russia’s side.
And not only your leadership on these two among others, I would also like to use this opportunity to thank you for your financial support we are getting for TB, NCDs, malaria and other priority areas.
We have just finished the five-year strategic plan, and it is under consultation. And I hope your support will continue in realising the five-year strategic plan. And I would like also to share with you that the five-year strategic plan is actually well in line with Russia’s priorities.
The conference is going very well. All is “khorosho.” Thank you very much.