By Damon Mitchell • 06 May 2020 • 10:54
FRANCE and Tunisia have urged the UN Security Council on Tuesday to adopt a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in major conflicts to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic after weeks of negotiations.
France, one of five permanent council members, and Tunisia, one of 10 elected members, combined their rival resolutions in hopes of winning approval for the first council resolution since Covid-19 began its attack on the world. However, diplomats say a vote has been held up primarily over a dispute between the United States and China on including a reference to the World Health Organisation.
President Donald Trump suspended funding to WHO in early April, accusing the UN health agency of failing to stop the virus from spreading when it first surfaced in China.
China strongly supports WHO and insists that its role in calling for global action on Covid-19 be included in any resolution.
Ambassadors from the 15 council nations met privately on Tuesday on the French-Tunisian draft resolution and France’s UN Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere said later it was “a good discussion.”
Tunisia’s UN Ambassador Kais Kabtani told several journalists that the two countries are working “very hard to present a final package deal” and are relying “on the spirit of compromise from the council members.”
The 193-member UN General Assembly approved two resolutions on Covid-19 in April. One recognises “the unprecedented effects” of the pandemic and calls for “intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat” the new coronavirus. The other urges global action to rapidly scale up development, manufacturing and access to medicine, vaccines and medical equipment to confront the pandemic. The draft French-Tunisian resolution demands an immediate cease-fire in major conflicts that are on the Security Council agenda from Syria and Yemen to Libya, South Sudan and Congo, and calls for all parties to armed conflicts “to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 30 consecutive days” to deliver aid.
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