UNSC unanimously adopts resolution calling for pandemic-related halt to conflicts
UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a halt to conflicts to facilitate the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, after more than three months of painstaking negotiations, diplomats said.
The resolution, drafted by France and Tunisia, calls for "an immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations" on the Security Council's agenda. It is the Security Council's first statement on the pandemic and its first real action since the outbreak started.
Tunisia's ambassador to the UN, Kais Kabtani, hailed it as a "historic achievement" but experts questioned whether the text would have any impact and say the paralysis undermined the Council's credibility.
Repeatedly blocked by China and the United States, which opposed a reference in the text to the World Health Organization (WHO), the resolution aims to support an appeal in March by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire.
It "calls upon all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days, in order to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance."
Fighting against extremist insurgent groups is excluded.
The new text makes no reference to WHO, which the US has criticised for its management of the crisis. Washington opposed any mention of WHO back in May. The body's paralysis for more than three months has been widely criticized, including by some members who have described their "shame" over its inaction.
During the negotiations, the United States and China, the two largest financial contributors to the UN, had both threatened to veto resolutions.
According to diplomats, Indonesia, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, helped broker a compromise that saw a reference to a General Assembly commitment to supporting the WHO added to the preamble. – AFP