New York City, US
Reuters

The UN Security Council on Wednesday finally backed UN chief Antonio Guterres' 23rd March call for a global truce amid the coronavirus pandemic, adopting a resolution after months of talks to win a compromise between the United States and China.

The resolution, drafted by France and Tunisia, calls for "all parties to armed conflicts to engage immediately in a durable humanitarian pause for at least 90 consecutive days" to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid. 

Negotiations on the resolution were stymied by a standoff between China and the United States over whether to urge support for the World Health Organization. The United States did not want a reference to the global health body, while China did.

US President Donald Trump said in May that Washington would quit the Geneva-based UN agency over its handling of the pandemic, accusing it of being "China-centric" and promoting China's "disinformation," assertions the WHO denies.

The adopted Security Council resolution does not mention the WHO but references a UN General Assembly resolution that does. 

"We have really seen the body at its worst," Richard Gowan, International Crisis Group UN director, said of the council. "This is a dysfunctional Security Council."

Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: "The adoption of this resolution will send an important signal to conflict parties and may help change calculations on the ground." 

The United States and China both took veiled swipes at each other after the resolution was adopted. 

The United States said in a statement that while it supported the resolution "it does not include crucial language to emphasize transparency and data-sharing as critical aspects in fighting this virus."

China's UN Ambassador Zhang Jun acknowledged the body "should have responded immediately" to Guterres' call, adding: "We were very frustrated that some country politicised this process."