At UNSC meet, UN chief Guterres warns of bio-terrorism, social unrest

The UN’s most powerful body, which has been silent on Covid-19 since it started circling the globe sickening and killing tens of thousands, issued its first brief press statement after the closed meeting.
Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks during a Security Council meeting. This picture is from February 28, 2020.(REUTERS/File Photo)
Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres speaks during a Security Council meeting. This picture is from February 28, 2020.(REUTERS/File Photo)
Updated on Apr 10, 2020 06:50 AM IST
Copy Link
United Nations | ByAssociated Press

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the UN Security Council on Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic is threatening international peace and security — “potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease.”

The UN’s most powerful body, which has been silent on Covid-19 since it started circling the globe sickening and killing tens of thousands, issued its first brief press statement after the closed meeting. It expressed “support for all efforts of the secretary-general concerning the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic to conflict-affected countries and recalled the need for unity and solidarity with all those affected.”

Click here for the complete coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic

Guterres, who called for a cease-fire for all global conflicts on March 23, said the crisis has “hindered international, regional and national conflict resolution efforts, exactly when they are needed most.”

He cited other pressing risks to global security from the pandemic: terrorists seeing an opportunity to strike, groups seeing how a biological terrorist attack might unfold, the erosion of trust in public institutions, economic instability, political tensions from postponing elections or referenda, uncertainty sparking further division and turmoil in some countries, and Covid-19 “triggering or exacerbating various human rights challenges.”

Click here for the latest updates from the coronavirus outbreak

The secretary-general reiterated that the United Nations faces “its gravest test” since the organization was founded 75 years ago from the pandemic and concluded saying: “This is the fight of a generation — and the raison d’être of (the reason for) the United Nations itself.”

Guterres spoke by video conference at a closed council meeting on Covid-19’s impact on the council’s mandate, which is the preservation of international peace and security. It was the first discussion by its 15 ambassadors on the pandemic. While the meeting was closed, the UN spokesman released Guterres’ briefing and a number of ambassadors released their remarks to the media.

The UN chief said the engagement of the Security Council will be “critical to mitigate the peace and security implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.” He added that “a signal of unity and resolve from the Council would count for a lot at this anxious time.”

Diplomats said the Security Council was initially blocked from issuing a statement or adopting a resolution by U.S. insistence that the origin of the virus in China or Wuhan be included, which China objected to, but Belgium’s UN Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, an elected council member, said that was not mentioned on Thursday. He and the nine other elected council members had been pressing for a meeting and succeeded in getting the secretary-general to brief on Thursday.

According to diplomats, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump agreed to organize a video conference of leaders of the five permanent council members, also including China, Russia and Britain, and France wanted that before a council meeting, but it couldn’t be arranged. Meanwhile, the 10 elected members had been pressing for a council meeting and briefing from Guterres — and they had the nine votes needed for it to happen on Thursday.

Pecsteen de Buytswerve said even though the press statement from the council was “very minimal” it is an expression of support for the secretary-general and his call for peace and a cease-fire “and that’s the most important thing at this stage.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Other places from which Google will not store location data include fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, and weight loss clinics.

    Google to delete user location history on US abortion clinic visits

    "If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. "This change will take effect in the coming weeks."

  • Professor Ajay Agrawal, who was honoured with the Order of Canada in the 2022 list. (Credit: University of Toronto)

    Two Indo-Canadian academics honoured with Order of Canada

    Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.

  • SpaceX founder and chief engineer Elon Musk.

    Elon Musk's Twitter hiatus, in 2nd week now,  generates curiosity 

    The world's richest person, Elon Musk, has not tweeted in about 10 days and it can't go unnoticed. The 51-year-old business tycoon has 100 million followers on the microblogging site, which he is planning to buy. Since April, he has been making headlines for the $44 billion deal and his comments and concerns about the presence of a large number of fake accounts on Twitter.

  • A Taliban fighter stands guard at a news conference about a new command of hijab by Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

    Taliban's reclusive supreme leader attends gathering in Kabul: Report

    The Taliban's reclusive supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada joined a large gathering of nationwide religious leaders in Kabul on Friday, the state news agency said, adding he would give a speech. The Taliban's state-run Bakhtar News Agency confirmed the reclusive leader, who is based in the southern city of Kandahar, was attending the meeting of more than 3,000 male participants from around the country, aimed at discussing issues of national unity.

  • James Topp, a Canadian Forces veteran who marched across Canada protesting against the Covid-19 vaccines mandates, speaks to supporters as he arrives at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial ahead of Canada Day in Ottawa, Ontario, on Thursday. (REUTERS)

    July 1: Canada to mark 155th anniversary of its formation

    As the country prepares to celebrate the 155th anniversary of the formation of the Canadian Confederation, Canada Day, the traditional centre of festivities, Parliament Hill in Ottawa, will be off limits as protesters linked to the Freedom Convoy begin gathering in the capital for the long weekend. Various events have been listed by protesters including a march to Parliament Hill on Friday.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, July 02, 2022