8 countries write to UN chief to demand lifting of unilateral sanctions amid pandemic

Press TV – Eight countries have called on the United Nations (UN) chief to ask for the lifting of unilateral sanctions on various countries that are hindering the global fight against the new coronavirus.

The diplomatic missions of Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday and warned about the negative impact of the sanctions on the international efforts aimed at containing the deadly virus.

The letter described the pathogen as the “common enemy” of mankind and said unilateral sanctions imposed by some countries were complicating the fight against the coronavirus.

“We have to recognize that this is a hard — if not impossible — deed for those countries who are currently facing the application of unilateral coercive measures, which are illegal and blatantly violate international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” read the letter, which was posted by the Russian mission to the UN in Twitter late on Wednesday.

“The destructive impact of said measures at the national level, plus their extraterritorial implications, together with the phenomena of over-compliance and the fear for secondary sanctions hinder the ability of national governments to, among others, have regular access to the international financial system or to free trade; thus, undermining ongoing efforts of national governments to attack the COVID-19.”

They said the sanctions also had a direct impact on “the human rights to life, health and food of the peoples subjected to them.”

They urged Guterres to request the lifting of those sanctions.

“We respectfully urge you to request the complete and immediate lifting of such illegal, coercive and arbitrary measures of economic pressure,” the letter read.

The United States has declined to remove sanctions on such countries as Iran and Venezuela amid the coronavirus outbreak and despite global calls on Washington to do so.

The new coronavirus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, incrementally infecting some 185 countries across the world.

More than 471,600 people worldwide have been infected with the virus and over 21,000 have died, according to a running count by worldometers.info.

Iran has said that the unilateral US sanctions imposed on the country have seriously hampered its fight on the pandemic. The disease has so far killed 2,234 people and infected 29,406 others in Iran. A total of 10,457 people have also recovered.

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