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Coronavirus

UN Security Council Trying again for First COVID-19 Resolution

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council is trying again to reach agreement on its first resolution on COVID-19 since the coronavirus started circling the globe in February after a lengthy dispute between the U.S. and China over mentioning the World Health Organization.

A revised draft resolution by France and Tunisia was submitted for a vote Tuesday, and the result is expected to be announced on Wednesday.

The draft resolution backs Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ March 23 call for global cease-fires to tackle the pandemic, and demands an “immediate cessation of hostilities” in all conflicts on the council’s agenda including Syria, Yemen, Libya, South Sudan and Congo.

It calls on all warring parties “to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days” to enable the safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid and medical evacuations.

President Donald Trump suspended funding to the World Health Organization in early April, accusing the U.N. health agency of failing to stop the virus from spreading when it first surfaced in China, and accusing WHO of parroting Beijing.

China strongly supports the WHO and insisted that its role in calling for global action on COVID-19 be included in any resolution, diplomats said, while the U.S. insisted on a reference to “transparency” on COVID-19 and no mention of the WHO.

The draft being put to a vote doesn’t mention either the WHO, a U.N. health agency or transparency.

But it does take note of a resolution adopted April 2 by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly which “calls for intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat the pandemic, including … by applying the relevant guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization.”

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