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Secretary-General Antonio Guterres briefs reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York Secretary-General Antonio Guterres briefs reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 21, 2020 (DPA photo by Luiz Rampelotto via AP Images).

Is All Hope Lost for a Global Cease-Fire Resolution at the U.N.?

, Thursday, May 14, 2020

Is it too late for the United Nations Security Council to make even a modest contribution to international stability during the coronavirus pandemic? After negotiating for the better part of two months, the council’s member states have yet to agree on a resolution addressing the security consequences of COVID-19. Last Friday, the United States refused to endorse a text that the body’s 14 other members were ready to back. It is not clear that a compromise is possible.

This is a pity, because the draft resolution the U.S. nixed—worked out by France and Tunisia, the former a permanent member of the council and the latter an elected one—centers on a fairly straightforward proposal to limit the suffering stemming from the pandemic. It repeats U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ appeal back in March for a general cessation in hostilities so that aid workers and health experts could help conflict-affected communities navigate the coronavirus. The draft calls for a 90-day humanitarian pause in armed conflicts in general, in addition to a more specific demand for an immediate halt to violence in crises that are already on the council’s agenda, such as in South Sudan and Libya. ...

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