Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 27 September 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Pope Francis backs UN efforts for a global ceasefire in face of Covid-19 pandemic

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution for a global ceasefire following months of disagreement

Pope Francis during a Holy Mass at the Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, 14 June 2020 EPA  
Pope Francis during a Holy Mass at the Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, 14 June 2020 EPA  

Pope Francis has backed UN Security Council efforts for global ceasefire in the face of the world-wide coronavirus pandemic.

In remarks on Sunday to the public in St Peter's Square, in Rome, the Catholic leader hailed the Security Council's "request for a global and immediate cease-fire, which would permit the peace and security indispensable for supplying so urgently needed humanitarian assistance".

The pontiff called for the prompt implementation "for the good of the so many persons who are suffering”.

Pope Francis also expressed hope that the Security Council resolution be a "courageous first step for the future of peace”.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday finally backed UN chief Antonio Guterres’ March 23 call for the global truce, adopting a resolution after months of talks to win a compromise between the United States and China.

The resolution, drafted by France and Tunisia, calls for “all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days” to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Negotiations on the resolution were stymied by a standoff between China and the United States over whether to urge support for the World Health Organisation. The United States did not want a reference to the global health body, while China did.

US President Donald Trump said in May that Washington would quit the Geneva-based UN health agency over its handling of the pandemic, accusing it of being “China-centric” and promoting China’s “disinformation,” assertions the WHO denies.

The adopted Security Council resolution does not mention the WHO but references a UN General Assembly resolution that does.

Updated: July 5, 2020 08:24 PM

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