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article imageUS objects to language in UN compromise resolution on COVID-19

By Ken Hanly     May 10, 2020 in Politics
After delays and much extra work on language changes a joint resolution by France and Tunisia at the UN Security Council was expected to pass soon.
The resolution
The resolution deals with the COVID-19 pandemic and also calls for global support for ceasefires so that countries can focus on fighting the virus.
The UN General Assembly had already approved two resolutions on the pandemic in April: "One recognizes “the unprecedented effects” of the pandemic and calls for “intensified international cooperation to contain, mitigate and defeat” the new coronavirus. The other urges global action to rapidly scale up development, manufacturing and access to medicine, vaccines and medical equipment to confront the pandemic."
Disagreements over language
The US refuses
to allow any mention of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the resolution. Trump has cut off US funding for WHO accusing it of pro-China bias. Trump also wants a reference to 'transparency' while Chinese officials object to this as they think it is an implicit criticism of them since the US accuses them of not having been transparent.
The proposed compromise resolution
In the compromise resolution
there is no direct reference to WHO but the resolution notes “the urgent need to support all countries, as well as all relevant entities of the United Nations system, including specialized health agencies, and other relevant international, regional, and sub-regional organizations, in line with their respective mandates, to enhance coordination and assist in the global fight against COVID-19.” However, the only specialized UN health agency is in fact WHO.
Also there is no direct reference to transparency as desired by the US but the resolution does welcome “all efforts and measures proposed by the secretary-general concerning the response to the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to conflict-affected countries, in particular his appeal for an immediate global ceasefire.” Some claim that the reference to UN Secretary General, Gutteres, is an indirect reference to support for transparency.
The call for a ceasefire does not include attacking ISIS or other terrorist organizations. There was not any mention of Israel being allowed to attack Syria although this was said to be a US priority.
US rejects compromise resolution
Many thought the compromise resolution would pass on Friday but the US rejected the language of the compromise because it obviously referred to WHO which is the only specialized UN health agency. The fact that it was not directly named was not enough to satisfy the US.
An anonymous Chinese diplomat
said: “The United States had agreed to the compromise text and it’s shocking and regretful that the U.S. changed its position.” He added that China supported the draft. However, an anonymous US official claimed that the US had never agreed to the text.
More about US UN relations, UN resolution on COVID19, Who
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