UN holds First Meeting of the Security Council on Coronavirus

UN holds First Meeting of the Security Council on Coronavirus

After weeks of divisions, including Sino-American, the UN Security Council met for the first time Thursday to discuss the Covid-19, a session which was to be akin to “group therapy” according to some diplomats.

The closed-door videoconference meeting began at 3:00 p.m. with Antonio Guterres, the organization’s secretary general, as chief medical officer. It was requested last week by nine of the ten non-permanent members led by Germany, exasperated by the Council’s paralysis in the face of an unprecedented global crisis.

According to diplomats, “positions are moving in the right direction” and Washington would have agreed to no longer insist at the UN on “a virus of Chinese origin”, terms which aroused the fury of Beijing.

During the session, the UN Secretary-General was to focus on the effects of the pandemic in countries and peace missions on the Council’s agenda. And try to unify this body which is also divided between, on the one hand, the five permanent members, and on the other the ten non-permanent members.

“The objective is to work, to bring the Council together, to resolve the differences and to reaffirm the need to move towards a decision as quickly as possible” on a resolution, summed up a diplomat on condition of anonymity before the session.

It was not certain that a joint text, which would be the first of the Council since the start of the crisis, would be published after the meeting.

Two competing draft resolutions are being discussed in the Security Council, but none among all of its 15 members.

The first, initiated by Tunisia, is carried by the ten non-permanent members.

In its latest version, obtained by the AFP on Thursday, it calls for “urgent, coordinated and united international action to limit the impact of the Covid-19”. It also provides that “the Security Council will monitor the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international peace and security,” with regular reports from the secretary-general “when necessary.” The text finally calls for “an immediate global ceasefire to allow an adequate humanitarian response”.