International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have agreed on the need for the US and South Africa to cooperate in addressing the Islamist insurgency in Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado.
Pandor and Blinken also agreed on the need to expand Covid-19 vaccine production, at a meeting on the margins of the G7 foreign and development ministers’ meeting in London on Wednesday.
This agreement took on added significance later when the Biden administration publicly backed South Africa and India’s demand for waiving intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines to allow cheaper production by developing countries.
Until now the US has strongly opposed the moves to suspend intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies. But late on Wednesday, Katherine Tai, the US trade representative, announced the administration’s about-turn.
“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures,” she said. “The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for Covid-19 vaccines.”
The US about-turn, however, apparently failed to change the minds of the other G7 countries at their meeting on Wednesday. In their…