Calls for global ceasefire in the face of Covid-19 pandemic
Tuesday, 22 September 2020
The world needs a global ceasefire and must do everything to avert a new Cold War in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, said United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Tuesday at the start of the UN’s annual General Assembly.
“We are moving in a very dangerous direction,” he warned. “Our world cannot afford a future where the two largest economies split the globe in a Great Fracture,” Guterres said, referring to the conflict between China and the United States.
“A technological and economic divide risks inevitably turning into a geo-strategic and military divide,” he continued. “We must avoid this at all costs.”
Guterres also recalled that he had already called for a ceasefire in March to facilitate the fight against the pandemic, an appeal that was endorsed by some 180 member states and armed movements which did not sustain their ceasefires.
The UN chief now fears that terrorists and extremists will take advantage of the pandemic.
“Now is the time for a collective new push for peace and reconciliation,” he said, calling for a “stepped up international effort – led by the Security Council – to achieve a global ceasefire by the end of this year. We have 100 days. The clock is ticking.”
Guterres underlined the need for solidarity, as “in an interconnected world, it is high time to recognise a simple truth: solidarity is self-interest. If we fail to grasp that fact, everyone loses,” he said.