Coronavirus: France and Russia want UN Security Council meeting
Friday, 17 April 2020
Russian and French Presidents Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron want the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to meet to discuss a common stance regarding the coronavirus pandemic.
The two presidents talked on Friday about the spread of the virus and discussed the idea of organising a video conference meeting of the Security Council’s permanent members, according to the Kremlin. Besides Russia and France, the permanent members of the UN’s Security Council are China, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Last week, the Council was urged to show unity by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The Council’s “deafening silence” in the face of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) was also noted by German Ambassador to the UN, Christoph Heusgen.
Tensions between China and the United States seem to be an important cause of the lack of communication from the Council. On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump chose to freeze American funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO), which he accuses of being too close to China and of mismanaging the pandemic.
Following the news, Belgium pledged continued support of the WHO, with Foreign and Finance Ministers Philippe Goffin and Alexander De Croo underlining the crucial role of the organisation, saying it was doing “a good job.”
The United States is currently the country most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with 604,070 confirmed cases as of 16 April, according to the WHO. France, too, has been hit hard, with 105,155 confirmed cases. China is the most affected country in the Western Pacific region with 83,797 cases. The UK counted 98,480 cases on Thursday and Russia had 27,938 cases.