New Delhi: As the global death toll due to novel coronavirus crossed 15,000, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gueterres on Monday made an emotional appeal to countries around the world to call off wars, put all “armed conflicts on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives”. Also Read - Mumbai Local Train Latest Updates: Maharashtra Govt May Restrict Commoners From Boarding Local Trains, Say Reports
“The fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war,” Gueterres said during an address at the UN headquarters in New York. Also Read - Aamrapali Dubey Tests Positive For COVID-19, Nirahua, Monalisa, And Others Wish Her Speedy Recovery
“That is why today, I am calling for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world,” he added, without mentioning any country’s name. Also Read - Lockdown in Delhi Only If Health System Collapses, Says CM Kejriwal; Terms 4th COVID Wave 'Extremely Dangerous' | Key Points
Overcome with emotions as he started to speak, Gueterres appealed to those parts of the world where conflicts raged even as the COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed most of the globe.
He urged to nations, “To bring hope to places among the most vulnerable to COVID-19, end the sickness of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. It starts by stopping the fighting everywhere – now.”
Gueterres also appealed for a coordinated international support “to respond to the economic and social consequences” of the coronavirus outbreak.
“We need a much stronger coordination, coordination in suppression of the disease, coordination in making sure that not only the developed countries can respond effectively to the disease but that there is massive support to the developing world not to let the disease spread like wildfire in the developing world,” he said.
But it should not be like the bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis which focused on financial centres and it should instead “make households be afloat, make businesses be afloat, keep societies afloat.” he added.
“A double-digit GDP (gross domestic product) support” is needed for the developing nations and the world has to “make sure that, when we recover, we recover in a more sustainable and a more inclusive economy,” he further stated.
Currently, Syria is facing the most serious conflict in the world using aircraft and sophisticated weapons, involving the government of Bashar al-Assad and Russia, which backs it; other rebels and Turkey, which supports them, and the Islamic State (ISIS).
Yemen is yet another long-standing battleground where the Houthis backed by Iran are locked in a conflict with those backed by a Saudi-led coalition that is also backed by the West.
Meanwhile, Libya is also facing civil war conditions with several factions confronting each other. There are scattered hostilities of varying intensities in Africa in places like South Sudan, Cameroun and Central African Republic.
Asserting that his special envoys were working with parties in the conflicts to ensure this global plea actually leads to some concrete action beyond listening, Gueterres hoped that it “leads to a pause in fighting, creating the conditions for the response to COVID-19 to be much more effective”.