The American objections arise from the fear of the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department that a global measure could hamper their ability to continue military operations against terrorist groups, for example Isis in Iraq, and other targets deemed hostile to American interests.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has similar concerns about the impact on Russian military operations in Syria and Moscow’s unrecognized support for proxy groups and non-state militias in war-torn countries like Libya.
According to a special report published by the US Foreign Policy site, “the two governments fear that a universal ceasefire could potentially limit their own efforts to mount what they consider legitimate counterterrorism operations abroad.
“The United States is also concerned that a general ceasefire could hamper Israel’s ability to engage in military operations across the Middle East,” said the author of the report. , Colum Lynch, – a reference to Israeli air strikes in recent months on targets in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
In addition, analysts say President Donald Trump and his advisers want to keep the freedom to launch attacks on pro-Iranian militias in Iraq, as has happened recently, or to carry out opportunistic strikes against Iranian military leaders , similar to the American drone strike in January. who killed General of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qassem Suleimani.
Speaking on March 23, António Guterres called on warring parties around the world to end hostilities and unite to fight Covid-19 instead.
“End the disease of war and fight the disease that is ravaging our world. He begins by stopping the fighting everywhere. Now. This is what our human family needs, now more than ever, “he said.
Guterres’s appeal was approved earlier this month by charities, religious organizations and human rights groups. Pope Francis threw his weight behind this in an address on Easter Sunday.
Henrietta Fore, head of the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, warned on Friday that 250 million children living in the “waking nightmare” of the conflict desperately need warring parties to end the fighting as the pandemic breaks out. was propagating.
Over 50 governments have also supported Guterres’s initiative, including several NATO allies. In a joint letter, which the United States and Russia have refused to sign, they expressed concern that the United Nations Security Council has not yet taken action.
“As the global Covid-19 pandemic spreads, we are concerned about the plight of women, children and all civilians caught up in armed conflict … these populations are already disproportionately affected by armed conflict.
“An immediate global ceasefire would significantly reduce these impacts, provide much-needed humanitarian assistance and protection, and hopefully reduce the spread of Covid-19,” the letter said.
Dominic Raab, the British Minister for Foreign Affairs and Acting Prime Minister, has pledged support from Britain. The coronavirus was “the fight of our lives and we must unite against it,” he said.
But the United States continues to procrastinate, while negotiations continue. Kelly Craft, US ambassador to the United Nations, expressed support for a global truce earlier this week and said she hoped the French resolution could be approved soon, perhaps this week.
But a spokesman for the State Department was more circumspect. “The United States supports the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire, but has noted that we will continue to fulfill our legitimate counterterrorism mission,” the spokesperson told Foreign Policy.
The ceasefire agreement has been further delayed by unsuccessful US demands that the resolution call Covid-19 “Wuhan virus”, a description that would have vetoed China. The United States has also objected to language favorable to the World Health Organization, which Trump attacked and funded.
Macron on Wednesday, however, expressed optimism that the draft resolution would be approved. He said he spoke personally to Trump, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and all of them had offered their support.
Macron said he hoped that Putin would also come on board and that a video summit of the five permanent members of the Security Council would be held to announce their agreement.
While such an outcome may enhance the prestige of the Council, which was severely criticized for its inaction during the Covid-19 crisis, it may disappoint those who demand an unconditional truce and an effective and joint international response.
If the big powers can choose to ignore a UN-mandated global ceasefire when it is convenient for them, analysts warn, then non-state actors and terrorist groups can decide to do the same.
Since Guterres called last month, sporadic progress has been reported in several conflict zones. The Saudi-led coalition has announced a ceasefire in Yemen, and there have been positive responses in Colombia and the Philippines. In total, the United Nations has cited 12 countries in which at least one party to a conflict has recognized the call for a ceasefire to fight the pandemic.
But in Afghanistan, one of the oldest conflicts in the world, there are signs that the growing impact of Covid-19 could undermine peace efforts, while Isis called on supporters to attack “crusader nations” then that they are distracted by illness.