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UN Security Council urges ceasefire in Afghanistan

01 Apr 2020 1TV News

The UN Security Council urged Afghanistan's warring parties on Tuesday to heed the UN secretary-general's call for an immediate ceasefire to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and ensure delivery of humanitarian aid throughout the country.

The council issued a press statement after a closed briefing by UN deputy special representative Ingrid Hayden who said the country “appears to be reaching a defining moment” — whether its leaders can join together “to engage in meaningful talks with the Taliban to achieve a sustainable peace.”

“The choice is made stark by the all-encompassing threat of COVID-19, which poses grave dangers to the health of Afghanistan’s population and, potentially, to the stability of its institutions,” she said.

She warned that “with the onslaught of COVID-19, many donors are likely to turn inwards to meet the needs of their own population.”

“Afghanistan needs to demonstrate a compelling case for the continued investment of international resources,” she said. “Now is not the time for divisions. Now is the time for statesmanship, accommodation and inclusivity.”

The dispute between President Ashraf Ghani and his political rival Abdullah Abdullah over leadership remains unresolved, which has impeded steps towards intra-Afghan peace talks.

The Security Council called on the political leadership of Afghanistan to "put aside their differences and put the interest of the country first.”

Council members “commended the presentation of a negotiating team for the upcoming intra-Afghan negotiations, including several women,” and expressed hope that those negotiations would start “without delay, bearing in mind the challenge the COVID-19 situation poses.”

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