Exclusive: 'UNSC has an important role to play' during COVID-19 crisis, president José Singer tells WION

Written By: Sidhant Sibal Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION
New Delhi, India Published: Apr 12, 2020, 09:59 AM(IST)

WION Exclusive Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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The UNSC met for the first time last week to discuss the crisis via video conference

The President of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the ambassador of the Dominican Republic, José Singer told WION that an urgent global response is needed to tackle the global coronavirus crisis. He added that the UNSC has an important role to play. The Dominican Republic is the chair of the council for the current month and decides the agenda of the top United Nations body. 

Speaking from New York, Ambassador Singer said, "COVID-19 is racing its way around the world. There’s growing concern about the unprecedented magnitude of its outbreak globally and its impact on international peace and security." 

"We need an urgent, coordinated, united and global response. No country can fight this alone and we must practice solidarity and kindness, now more than ever", he further said.

The UNSC met for the first time last week to discuss the crisis via video conference under the Presidentship of the Dominican Republic. On April 2, nine countries had requested the UNSC to meet urgently in the face of growing coronavirus escalation.

Asked about the role of UNSC in dealing with the crisis, Ambassador Singer said,"With a pandemic that is strangling the world's economy and putting an enormous strain on health resources, international cooperation is paramount. And the Security Council has an important role to play".

Hinting at more meetings of the body, he claimed that Thursday's meeting "was our first step on our discussions around COVID-19 and it will keep on discussing it, including through thematic issues and country-specific discussion" and "one thing is sure, SC members understand the seriousness of this issue, precisely when people living in conflict context are deeply vulnerable to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic."

Thursday's meeting saw United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres briefing the Council about the impact of COVID-19. The UNSG said that this is the "fight of a generation" while highlighting eight risks emerging out of the crisis. These include the "threat of terrorism" which "remains alive" and "weaknesses and lack of preparedness" exposed by the pandemic which may "provide a window onto how a bio-terrorist attack might unfold".

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