By Harrison Arubu
UN Security Council has passed a resolution, backing the Secretary-General’s call for a worldwide ceasefire to deepen global solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resolution 2532 (2020), which was unanimously adopted by the 15-member council, came after a three-month deadlock occasioned by disagreements between the , U.S, Russia and China.
Submitted by France and Tunisia, the resolution echoed Guterres’ March 23 call for immediate cessation of hostilities by warring parties so the world can concentrate on tackling the pandemic.
However, the two-page resolution excluded ongoing military operations against ISIS, Al Qaeda and other extremist and terrorist groups so designated by the council.
Reacting, the UN Chief welcomed the long-awaited decision, which he said would “send an important signal to conflict parties and may help change calculations on the ground’’.
“The Secretary-General continues to urge individual member states to redouble their efforts for peace in the conflicts in which they have influence.
“He looks forward to working with all stakeholders to advance efforts toward concrete ceasefires and durable peace, his spokesman, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, said in a note to UN correspondents.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that this move followed endorsement of the ceasefire appeal by nearly 180 countries and no fewer than 20 armed groups, according to the UN.
The resolution noted that the “unprecedented extent of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed no fewer than 500,000 lives globally, “is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security”.
It added that the pandemic could also reverse peacebuilding and development gains in countries emerging from conflict.
Germany’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. Christoph Heusgen, who announced the resolution described it as“ “very strong signal of unity within the council.
Wednesday marked Germany’s first day as president of the Security Council for the month of July.
Heusgen said the move was also a sign of hope that “we send from the Security Council out into the world”.
Through the resolution, the council called on parties of armed conflicts to immediately engage in a “durable humanitarian pause” of at least 90 days.
This, it stated, is to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of lifesaving aids.
It requested the Secretary-General to instruct the UN’s 13 peacekeeping missions to support host countries’ efforts to contain the coronavirus.
The resolution requested the missions to provide updates on UN’s efforts to address the pandemic in conflict zones and humanitarian crisis areas.
NAN reports that the resolution was partly delayed by a dispute between the U.S. and China over the mention of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in earlier drafts.
While China wanted WHO mentioned in the resolution, the U.S. opposed it after President Donald Trump accused the global health body favouring China, an allegation it denies.
The U.S. and Russia also opposed the resolution on the ground that ceasing fire would undermine their military operations against terrorist groups in Libya, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.