VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis on Sunday threw his support behind a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a halt to conflicts to facilitate the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted the resolution after more than three months of negotiations calling for "an immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations" on the Security Council's agenda.
"The request for a global and immediate cease-fire, which would allow that peace and security necessary to provide the needed humanitarian assistance is commendable," the pope said after his weekly Angelus prayer at St. Peter's in Rome.
"I hope that this decision will be implemented effectively and promptly for the good of the many people who are suffering.
"May this Security Council resolution become a courageous first step towards a peaceful future."
The resolution was the Security Council's first statement on the pandemic and its first real action since the outbreak started.
Repeatedly blocked by China and the United States, which opposed a reference in the text to the World Health Organization (WHO), the resolution aims to support an appeal in March by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a global ceasefire.
It "calls upon all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days, in order to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance."