UN chief says some warring groups heed call for cease-fires

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says some groups are heeding his call for an immediate cease-fire to tackle the coronavirus pandemic

Guterres said at a humanitarian briefing that the Palestinian Authority and Israel have also been able to work together on the virus, though “we know the extreme division that exists politically between the two.”

Dujarric, the U.N. spokesman, said Guterres welcomes the Communist Party of the Philippines’ order to its New People’s Army guerrillas to stop attacks and shift to a defensive position. Guterres encourages the parties to find a lasting political solution and end the conflict that has continued in the countryside for more than half a century, he said.

“The secretary-general also hopes that this will serve as an example across the world to silence the guns and come together as we face the global threat of COVID-19,” Dujarric said.

Guterres issued the appeal for immediate cease-fires Monday, saying that “the fury of the virus illustrates the folly of war.”

The Syrian conflict has entered its 10th year, the conflict in Yemen is in its fifth year and Libya's rival governments have been fighting for nearly a year. Africa also faces unrest from Somalia and South Sudan to Congo. The conflict in eastern Ukraine is nearly six years old, and Colombia has still not made peace with the smaller of the armed groups it had been fighting.

Extremist groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida and their affiliates are also actively engaging in attacks in southeast Asia, Syria, Somalia, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso and many other countries around the world