Türkİye, World

UNSC is 'ineffective' in combating coronavirus: Turkey

Foreign ministers of Turkey, Finland, Switzerland and officials from AU Commission, UN discuss COVID-19 pandemic

Fahri Aksüt   | 19.05.2020
UNSC is 'ineffective' in combating coronavirus: Turkey ANKARA, TURKEY - MAY 19: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a video conference meeting on "Conflict Dynamics of coronavirus (CO-VID 19) pandemic and its effects on mediation" held within the cooperation of Antalya Diplomacy Forum and International Peace Institue in Ankara, Turkey on May 19, 2020. ( Fatih Aktaş - Anadolu Agency )


As the world is in an uphill battle against the novel coronavirus, the UN Security Council has been “ineffective” in this fight, Turkey's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

"Months have passed since the outbreak of the pandemic and the Council has yet to come up with a joint resolution," Mevlut Cavusoglu told the virtual Antalya Diplomacy Forum. 

The forum was held for the first time this year under the theme of Digital Diplomacy.

The videoconference on How the Coronavirus Pandemic Affects Conflict Dynamics and Mediation: New Challenges to Peace and Security launched the forum.

Among the attendees of the forum via a video link were Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, Ignazio Cassis, head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Rosemary DiCarlo, under-secretary-general of United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Smail Chergui, commissioner for peace and security in African Union Commission, Terje Rod-Larsen, president of International Peace Institute.

The participants shared their views, insights and ideas on mediation in the time of a global health crisis.

Pandemic complicated existing efforts

Cavusoglu went on his speech by saying the pandemic has already complicated the existing efforts to find peaceful resolutions to conflicts.

Therefore, he stressed, the states need mediation more than ever due to the challenges caused by the pandemic.

"We see an escalation in geopolitical rivalries. Peace-keeping operations are affected. Troop rotations and deployments are frozen. Mediation and facilitation efforts are impaired," he said.

Cavusoglu said as the world focuses on the pandemic, the parties to various conflicts became more blatant.

"In Libya, the putschist/warlord Haftar has increased his indiscriminate attacks against civilians. In Yemen and Syria, conflicts continue to claim lives. The Israeli government plans to annex parts of West Bank,” he said.

Terrorism unabated

Stressing the collective fight against terrorism, Cavusoglu said terrorist and extremist groups also perceive the outbreak as an opportunity.

"Recent reports on increased Daesh[/ISIS] attacks in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are alarming. The pandemic did not stop atrocities of the PKK/YPG. Far-right groups circulate conspiracy theories and stigmatize Muslims, refugees, Asians and many others," he said.

From the effects of terrorism and wars on people, Cavusoglu turned to the vulnerable groups, including internally displaced people, refugees and migrants, who are affected the most by the pandemic.

He said the UN stressed that more than $90 billion is needed to control the pandemic and protect 10% of the world’s most vulnerable.

"In Idlib, the interim government had to introduce measures for 5 million people living in opposition-controlled areas. They need immediate support. The plight of Rohingya continues unabated," he said.

 'Humanitarian aid should flow uninterrupted'

According to Cavusoglu, the outbreak may cause economic crisis and this situation could also spark new tensions.

"There is a severe decline in employment. The World Food Programme warned of a possible hunger pandemic. This is not something we can sit idly by and wait for it to happen."

Cavusoglu said the world must focus on the peaceful resolution of conflicts and address the plight of vulnerable groups.

"We must ensure the uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid."

Underlining the importance of global organizations, Cavusoglu said countries must also make international organizations relevant and credible again.

"We have seen the urgent need to reform the Security Council and UN agencies. That said, this is not the time to further weaken the existing mechanisms," he said.

Cavusoglu said he sees the pandemic is another reminder of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

"We should invest in them. We need to be creative in using new/digital platforms," he said.

- 'Multilateralism should be kept alive'

Cavusoglu stressed the collective fight against the pandemic, saying none of these can be achieved without common efforts.

"The pandemic has taught everyone a valuable lesson in globalization: What happens anywhere affects everyone. No country is safe until all countries are safe," he said.

Cavusoglu said countries and international organizations must keep multilateralism alive.

"The enemies of a rule-based global order will look for an opportunity to take unilateral steps. Multilateralism should not be another casualty of COVID-19. And it is not strong rhetoric, but rather effective cooperative action that will save the day," he said.

More than 4.86 million cases have been reported in 188 countries and regions since the coronavirus emerged in China last December.

The US, Russia, Brazil, and several European countries are currently the hardest-hit in the world.

The pandemic has claimed over 321,000 lives worldwide, while recoveries has surpassed 1.8 million, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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