UN Security Council members agree coronavirus video-summit: Moscow

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Russia said Monday that the permanent members of the UN Security Council have agreed to hold a video conference on the coronavirus pandemic.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that “all the leaders of the other countries of the ‘five’ have supported this initiative.”

The five permanent UN Security Council members (the “P5”), a powerful group that can stop any resolution, are Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

Lavrov said “the ‘five’ is considering now how to make its own contribution to creating ways to fight the coronavirus.”

“With this aim, a video conference has been agreed in principle. Now it’s being decided on what precise day it could happen,” the diplomat said in an online address.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists a date had not been set yet.

The Security Council has been largely silent since the start of the pandemic, silenced by strong divisions between the permanent members - notably, the United States, China and Russia.

The United States and China have engaged in a war of words over COVID-19’s origins, while Russia and China are not keen to see the Security Council treat the issue as more than a health and economic matter.

Putin discussed holding a video summit during a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month, the Kremlin said.

The Russian foreign ministry said at the time that Lavrov had “agreed to closely cooperate” on summit preparations with US counterpart Mike Pompeo.

Macron and US President Donald Trump urged talks between P5 leaders early this month.

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The Security Council is finally expected this week to adopt its first resolution on the pandemic, amid calls for intensified international cooperation.

A draft resolution jointly proposed by Tunisia and permanent member France, calls for “enhanced coordination among all countries,” a “cessation of hostilities” and a “humanitarian pause” in countries in conflict.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a global ceasefire last month.

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