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UN chief calls for Afghan ‘cease-fire’

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KABUL: The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls on the government of Afghanistan and Taliban to observe a cease fire at a time that the Corona virus is spreading in the country.

Gutteres said Saturday that while war is intensifying in Afghanistan, the country’s government forms a delegation to hold talks with the Taliban and the two sides (government and Taliban) are in technical contacts over the release of Taliban prisoners from government custody.

He called fully support for the cease fire in Afghanistan, saying that states like Cameroon, Central African Republic, Columbia, Libya, Myanmar, Philippines, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen had accepted an international demand for cease fire.

Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has told the Associated Press that they would stop fighting if the Corona virus spreads in the Taliban-controlled areas.

He added that the militants would provide security for healthcare personnel in their areas.

“As an Afghan, I welcome this step, but it would be better to stop war across Afghanistan. What has the war given us so far?” said Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for the ministry of public health.

The ministry said that two people passed away in the provinces of Herat and Daikondi in the past 24 hours from Corona virus, reaching the total death toll to six in the country.

The number of people infected to the virus is nearly 300 mostly in Kabul and Herat.

Gutteres called for a global cease fire, saying that war was intensifying in the world and its victims are women, children, disabled and displaced people. He warned that war victims are in danger to get afflicted with the virus.

“Today, I call for an urgent global cease fire. This is the time to put guns aside and focus together on the real fight for our lives. I address the war parties to abandon enmity, abandon distrust and hostility, switch the arms off, stop using heavy weapons and put an end to the aerial bombardments,” said the UN chief.

He called particularly for cease fire in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Libya, asking the influential figures to pressure on the war parties in the world to put their arms and change the cease fire into a reality.

Gutteres said that he asks all the war parties directly or indirectly to immediately stop armed conflicts so that governments can fight the Corona virus and get assured of easy access to humanitarian aid.

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