August 8, 2020

After three months, the Security Council unites and calls for a truce on COVID-19

After more than three months of negotiations, the UN Security Council finally came together on Wednesday to pass a resolution supporting the call of the organization’s chief, António Guterres, for a global truce during the pandemic.

The division between the United States and China – faced by the management of COVID-19 – has so far made it impossible to approve the text, which finally came through thanks to a new version of compromise launched in recent days.

The resolution, unanimously approved, calls for a “general and immediate cessation of hostilities” in all conflicts on the Security Council’s agenda and calls on the parties to facilitate a humanitarian pause of at least 90 days.

The text makes clear that the truce does not apply to military operations against terrorist groups designated by the Security Council, such as the Islamic State (IS), Al Qaeda or the Frente al Nusra, a former affiliate of Al Qaeda in Syria.

Furthermore, the powers call for solidarity in the face of the pandemic and encourage support for the countries most in need.

The idea of ​​a global ceasefire while fighting the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was launched by Guterres on March 23 and has been endorsed by a very large majority of UN member states.

The head of the organization, however, has repeatedly insisted on the importance of the initiative being endorsed by the Security Council, which is the body in charge of peace and security and the one that would have a priori more capacity to implement it.

However, the clash between Washington and Beijing left the matter blocked for more than three months.

Among other issues, the US and Chinese delegations clashed over the mention of the role of the World Health Organization (WHO), which the US opposed after accusing the agency of failing to manage the coronavirus and that China wanted to keep it at all costs.

Washington, which accuses Beijing to cover the early days of the pandemic, also demanded a call for “transparency” in the resolution.

Finally, neither of the two references appears in the text, but it does point to a similar text approved by the UN General Assembly in which cooperation with the WHO was requested.

France and Tunisia, the promoters of the resolution in the Security Council, considered the adoption of this Wednesday an “important” step and stressed that it has a special meaning in light of the current problems in the multilateral system, as it is a sign of union and cooperation .

The two countries, in any case, stressed that now the text must be implemented and they promised to continue working for it.

So far, some armed groups have followed Guterres’s call and halted his armed operations, but other conflicts remain unchanged.


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