UN chief says coronavirus biggest threat to humankind, renews global ceasefire call

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres renewed his appeal for a global ceasefire and said that warring parties must lay down their arms as the coronavirus is “the biggest threat that humankind is facing at the present moment.”

Guterres, who spoke to Al Arabiya’s New York Bureau Chief Talal al-Haj on Friday, admitted that there is still a lot of mistrust to enact ceasefires on the ground given the years of mistrust among parties in countries like Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Afghanistan.

“It is also true that many movements and many governments that are parties to the conflict around the world have also said that they were ready to abide by the ceasefire. But the reality is that on the ground, it has been extremely difficult to implement it,” Guterres said.

“If humans go on trying to defeat other humans, the virus will defeat all the humans and the virus will win this battle in Syria or in Yemen or in Libya. We need to avoid it. And for that, we need the ceasefire here in these countries, as in all others, to make sure that we are able to join efforts to fight the biggest threat that humankind is facing at the present moment, the COVID-19,” the UN chief added.

A day earlier, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for international cooperation and "multilateralism" in addressing the virus, which has infected more than one million worldwide and killed more than 50,000.

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