France, Tunisia strive to block UN resolution on Covid-19


Questions arise about the sustainability of the current United Nations system, as member states have failed to find a resolution on the worst pandemic since the creation of the United Nations.

As it prepares for its 75th anniversary later this year, member states of the United Nations Security Council disagree on whether to include the lifting of sanctions against Sudan and Zimbabwe in all UN resolutions. Covid-19.

The global pandemic has raised – again – a continuing problem of jurisdiction at the United Nations, with some member states saying that it is the General Assembly, not the Security Council, that should manage the resolutions.

Unlike the General Assembly, five permanent members of the Security Council can veto any resolution.

Washington’s insistence that Covid-19 be called the “Wuhan virus” in any statement or document hampered initial efforts for a resolution in March.

Several UN-based diplomats spoke of the latest obstacles to a unified UN position on the coronavirus. France and Tunisia, which initially had separate draft declarations, are now working together on the same message.

“The Covid-19 resolution, which was consolidated from the French and Tunisian resolutions, is currently being negotiated,” said Liisa Toots, of the Permanent Mission of Estonia to the United Nations. The National.

Estonia heads the Security Council for May.

“Some” member states of the Security Council “have in fact offered to write a paragraph on increasing sanctions,” said Toots.

A top New York-based diplomat, who asked not to be named, said South Africa was leading efforts to ease sanctions against Sudan and Zimbabwe following political developments that had taken place. in 2019 in both countries.

Zimbabwe’s longtime president Robert Mugabe, accused of human rights abuses and widespread corruption during his 37 years in power, died last September shortly after Emerson Mnangagwa succeeded him.

While the latter was also accused of human rights violations, the UN Secretary-General urged Mnangagwa to “pursue inclusive policies and reforms that would deepen democratic and accountable governance, respect human rights. and would promote reconciliation and a fair economic recovery ”and offered their support. In the process.

Because Sudan was once the home of Osama bin Laden and has a long association with terrorist groups which led the United States to place him on a list of states sponsoring terrorism in 1993. In February, the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, said it was time for Sudan to be removed from the US list after longtime dictator Omar Al Bashir was forced to step down by the military amid a national uprising and the country’s military and civilian leaders have since concluded an agreement for the transition to democracy.

The US designation makes it difficult, if not impossible, for Sudan to work with the IMF and the World Bank, although US officials say they are open to discussions on the issue.

In a thawing sign, Sudan appointed an ambassador to Washington on Monday after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in December that the two countries will exchange ambassadors.

But Ms. Toots said sanctions are used to promote peace, democracy and respect for the rule of law, human rights and international law. “These sanctions do not undermine the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic and do not in any way target medical supplies or humanitarian aid. “

In New York, United Nations diplomats who spoke to The National said France was trying to convince the so-called permanent members of the five (P-5) on the latest draft declaration while Tunisia was working through its diplomatic channels to convince the P-10 (non-permanent members) of the project.

The resolution was supposed to be ready last week, the diplomats said, but now they will wait and see if progress is made this week.

Another problem for the Security Council is electronic voting on the resolution. “They [member states and the UN] we believe electronic voting will pose a security threat, “said the senior diplomat.

“It has been three months and the UNSC cannot agree on a resolution for Covid-19. At a time when people are talking about the need to work together, the Security Council is blocked. Has the UN succeeded in [set up] for the veto power of the P-5 and is it viable for the post-pandemic and the 21st century, “asked the diplomat.

Updated: May 6, 2020 10:07 p.m.


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