The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an end to conflicts to facilitate the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic after three months of talks, AFP reported.
The resolution, prepared by France and Tunisia, calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations. This is the first statement by the Security Council on a pandemic and its first real action after the outbreak.
Tunisia's ambassador to the UN, Kais Kabtani, hailed it as a "historic achievement" but experts questioned whether the text would have any impact.
Repeatedly blocked by China and the US, which opposed a reference in the text to the World Health Organization (WHO), the resolution seeks to support the early appeal of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire.
It "calls upon all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days, in order to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance."
The new text has no reference to WHO. Washington opposed any mention of WHO back in May. During the talks, the US and China threatened to veto resolutions.
According to diplomats, Indonesia, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, helped achieve a compromise that saw a reference to a General Assembly commitment to supporting the WHO added to the preamble.
A vague mention was considered satisfactory for China, which wanted to highlight the importance of WHO and the US which broke away from the UN body.