Israel and the US, which pulled out of the WHO this year, tried to reverse a UN call on member states to join forces in battling Covid-19, including by halting hostilities and sanctions that hinder the pandemic response.
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has overwhelmingly supported a comprehensive resolution for “intensified international cooperation and solidarity to contain, mitigate and overcome the pandemic and its consequences.”
The draft was adopted by 169 countries, with Ukraine and Hungary abstaining. Washington was only backed by Tel Aviv in voting against the document. Notably, the US is the worst-hit country in the world, having reported more than 6.4 million Covid-19 cases and over 193,000 deaths.
The text acknowledges the lead role of the World Health Organization in combatting Covid-19 globally. The US withdrew from the health body earlier this year, inexplicably accusing it of siding with China, delaying the launch of a global pandemic alert, and poor performance during the pandemic – an array of claims that didn’t sit well with WHO executives.
The non-binding resolution also invokes Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ appeal for “an immediate global ceasefire” which would allow the least-developed countries to buy some time in tackling coronavirus and receive aid from abroad.
The emotionally-charged text also took a subtle swipe at economic sanctions, arguing that “the urgent removal of unjustified obstacles” is crucial for ensuring universal access to “all quality, safe, efficacious and affordable essential health technologies and products, including their components and precursors.”
Two UN members, Iran and Cuba, are suffering from sweeping US penalties that have remained in force even during the Covid-19 crisis. Havana’s health officials previously warned that their country had to pay a double price for medicines and equipment because of the de facto American blockade.
Back in early July, Tehran took the matters to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), demanding that Washington be held accountable for the hindering Iran’s ability to handle the coronavirus crisis.
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