After weeks of divisions, including Sino-American, the UN Security Council meets for the first time Thursday, April 9 to discuss the Covid-19, a session which is similar to "group therapy" according to some diplomats.
This videoconference and in camera meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. GMT with the chief medical officer Antonio Guterres, secretary general of the organization. It was requested last week by nine of the ten non-permanent members, led by Germany, exasperated by the Council's paralysis in the face of an unprecedented global crisis.
Washington set fire to the powder
According to diplomats, "positions are moving in the right direction" and Washington would have agreed to no longer insist at the UN on a "virus of Chinese origin", a term which aroused the fury of Beijing.
During the session, the UN secretary-general must focus on the effects of the pandemic in countries and peace missions on the Council's agenda. And try to unify this body which has also been divided between the five permanent members and the ten non-permanent members.
"The objective is to work, to bring the Council together, to resolve the differences and to reaffirm the need to move towards a decision as quickly as possible" on a resolution, summarizes a diplomat on condition of anonymity.
The call for a "global cease-fire"
Two competing draft texts are under debate. The first, initiated by Tunisia and obtained by AFP, is carried by the ten non-permanent members. It calls for "urgent, coordinated and united international action to limit the impact of Covid-19" and "calls for an immediate global ceasefire to allow an adequate humanitarian response".
As in challenge to the group of permanent members, the project has been negotiated since March 30 between the only non-permanent members: Germany, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Estonia, Vietnam, Tunisia, Niger, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and South Africa. No vote has been scheduled yet.
The second, centered on support for a "cessation of hostilities" demanded in March by the head of the United Nations to facilitate the fight against the pandemic and on a "humanitarian pause", is proposed by France.
It is only discussed so far between the five permanent members (United States, Russia, China, France and United Kingdom), which is "very frustrating", confide to AFP anonymously several diplomats from countries non-permanent members.
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Before a negotiation at 15, it is necessary to settle the differences between the "Big Five", one retorts in Paris, otherwise it will not work. For this, France has been trying for two weeks to organize a videoconference of the leaders of the five countries.
A goal difficult to achieve because of the recent hospitalization of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and a reluctance of China to commit to a date without having clarified the content of the session.
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