Apr 15, 2020 - World

Macron says Trump, China and U.K. leaders back UN truce plea

French President Emmanuel Macron wears a face mask during the visit of the military field hospital outside the Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France,

French President Emmanuel Macron at a field hospital in eastern France. Photo: Mathieu Cugnot/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday he's gotten the agreement of President Trump and the leaders of two other United Nations Security Council permanent members to back a UN call for a global ceasefire so the world can overcome the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It would be a rare sign of global unity in the current climate, after Trump announced he's halting U.S. funding to UN subsidiary the World Health Organization for 60 to 90 days over its "very China-centric" handing of the pandemic — prompting criticism from UN chief António Guterres.

  • Macron told Radio France Internationale that China's President Xi Jinping had also agreed to back the ceasefire call, along with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
  • "I think President Putin will certainly agree too," Macron said, adding he would speak to him in the "next few hours." "[Once] he does, we’ll be able to hold this videoconference and relay this call in a solemn, forceful and efficient way."

Driving the news: Guterres called for a global ceasefire on March 23, saying health systems had collapsed in war-ravaged countries, with the few health professionals remaining targeted and leaving those displaced "doubly vulnerable."

What they're saying: A White House readout of Trump's call with Macron on Tuesday stated that they "discussed efforts to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and reopen world economies." "The two leaders also discussed the upcoming teleconference with G7 Leaders, as well as critical regional and bilateral issues," it added.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from the White House.

Go deeper