Pope Francis backs UN call for global ceasefire to address pandemic

Pope Francis waves next to Bishop Rino Fisichella as he leaves the Santo Spirito in Sassia church in Rome after he celebrated the Feast of Divine Mercy mass behind closed doors on April 19, 2020 during the country's lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Pope Francis expressed support for the United Nations’ call last week for a global ceasefire amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In remarks made following the Angelus in the Vatican on Sunday, July 5, the pontiff said the call for a global and immediate ceasefire is “commendable.”

“[It] would allow the peace and security essential to provide the humanitarian assistance so urgently needed,” said Pope Francis in his remarks.

The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted on July 1 a resolution demanding “a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda.”

The resolution calls on parties to armed conflicts to immediately, in a “durable humanitarian phase,” provide aid to countries to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

In the resolution, the Council also voiced support for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who first proposed a global ceasefire on March 23.

That appeal has been echoed by world leaders, including Pope Francis, who invited everyone “to follow it up by ceasing all forms of hostilities.”

In his message on Sunday, Pope Francis expressed hope that the UN decision “will be implemented effectively and promptly for the sake of the many people who are suffering” throughout the world.

The pope prayed that the Security Council resolution might “become a courageous first step towards a peaceful future.”

The Council noted that the extent of the pandemic “is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.”

It also said that the outbreak could also “set back peace-building and development gains” in countries emerging from conflict.

Christoph Heusgen, Germany’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said the resolution “is a very strong signal of unity” and a “sign of hope” that the Council send out into the world.

The resolution excluded ongoing military operations against the so-called Islamic State and other terrorist organizations.

The Council requested the UN Secretary General to instruct all peacekeeping missions to “support host country efforts to contain the coronavirus and to provide updates on UN efforts to address the pandemic in conflict zones and humanitarian crisis areas.” - LiCAS.news