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Pandemic will not end until world is vaccinated, Merkel says

Kitco News

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and other wealthy countries may need to give some of their own stock of vaccines to developing countries in addition to money, since only vaccinating the whole world will end the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

Speaking after a video conference of leaders of the G7 group of large developed economies, Merkel said they had not discussed specific percentages of their vaccine stocks that should be given to poorer countries.

But she told journalists: “I stressed in my intervention that the pandemic is not over until all people in the world have been vaccinated.”

Merkel said new U.S. President Joe Biden had already bolstered international cooperation: “The change of government in the United States of America, in particular, has strengthened multilateralism,” she said.

Turning to diplomacy over Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, Merkel said: “I will at least try to bring new momentum into the negotiations ... we now have to make sure that a problem does not arise as to who makes the first step.”

Iran’s foreign minister said earlier on Friday it will “immediately reverse” actions in its nuclear programme once U.S. sanctions are lifted, reacting coolly to Washington’s initial offer to revive talks with Tehran aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal.

Reporting by Thomas Escritt and Paul Carrel; Editing by Maria Sheahan

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