- In a telephone interview with Reuters, WTO's Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an agreement on waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines is within reach.
- A key World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting is scheduled next week to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine patent waiver debate.
- "If we get one or two deliverables, that will be good," Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I think we are within shouting distance of that."
- Days before the meeting starts, none of the agreements in the three major negotiating areas of agriculture, fish subsidies, or intellectual property rights for vaccines have been finalized for ministers to rubber-stamp, trade sources say.
- Instead, Okonjo-Iweala described a "hectic" atmosphere in Geneva where negotiators worked late nights and weekends to try to resolve outstanding differences.
- Some Western members have refused to negotiate directly with Russia, but Okonjo-Iweala said she was confident negotiations could continue through different meeting sizes.
- "You cannot minimize the Russia-Ukraine tensions and crisis. We find methodologies that work, and we will use the same approaches for MC12," she said, referring to next week's meeting.
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