After months of fruitless negotiations, France and Tunisia on Tuesday asked their UN Security Council partners to vote on a resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic, diplomatic sources said.
The result of the vote, which will be held virtually due the virus shutdown at UN headquarters, is expected on Wednesday.
Repeatedly blocked by China and the United States, which opposed a reference in the text to the World Health Organization (WHO), the draft resolution aims to support a similar appeal in March by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The new text, obtained by AFP, has no reference to WHO, which the US has criticized for its management of the crisis.
The resolution "demands a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda and supports the efforts undertaken by the Secretary-General."
It says a ceasefire of at least 90 days would help "enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance" during the coronavirus outbreak.
If adopted, the new draft resolution would be the Security Council's first statement on the pandemic and its first real action since the outbreak started.
The body's paralysis for more than three months has been widely criticized, including by some members who have described their "shame" over its inaction.
During the negotiations, the United States and China, the two largest financial contributors to the UN, had both threatened to veto resolutions.
It is unclear if a Security Council call to end hostilities would have any impact.
On Thursday, Guterres welcomed the fact that his ceasefire request was supported by nearly 180 countries and more than 20 armed groups, but he acknowledged that it had not been followed up with concrete action.
United Nations, United States | AFP