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UN chief calls for global ceasefire in face of COVID-19

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Guterres rules out UN involvement in KashmirUnited Nations, March 24 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for an immediate global ceasefire in face of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). He asked warring parties to pull back from hostilities, put aside mistrust and animosity, and silence the guns.

“It is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives (against the coronavirus),” he said in a virtual press encounter, Xinhua reported.

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A global cease-fire is crucial to help create corridors for life-saving aid, to open precious windows for diplomacy, and to bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, he said.

“Let us take inspiration from coalitions and dialogue slowly taking shape among rival parties in some parts (of the world) to enable joint approaches to COVID-19. But we need much more: end the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world,” he said.

“It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere, now. That is what our human family needs, now more than ever.”

COVID-19 is a common enemy to the world. The virus does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all relentlessly, said Guterres.

Meanwhile, armed conflict rages on around the world. The most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalised and the displaced — pay the highest price. They are also at the highest risk of suffering devastating losses from COVID-19, he said.

“Let”s not forget that in war-ravaged countries, health systems have collapsed. Health professionals, already few in number, have often been targeted. Refugees and others displaced by violent conflict are doubly vulnerable,” he noted. “The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.”

–IANS

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