…As Britain and Japan sign post-Brexit trade deal***
Secretary-General António Guterres has appealed for a global ceasefire to enable the world to focus on the fight against COVID-19.
Guterres made the call in his message as the United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary, which is celebrated yearly on Oct. 24.
The newsmen report that the year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the UN and its founding Charter.
The UN officially came into existence on Oct. 24, 1945, when its Charter was ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories.
Guterres said that the founding mission of the organisation was now more critical than it ever was.
This, he said, was to promote human dignity, protect human rights, respect international laws and save humanity from war.
“The 75th anniversary of the United Nations falls in the middle of a global pandemic.
“I call for a global ceasefire because in our world today, we have one common enemy, COVID-19.
“Now is the time for a stepped-up push for peace to achieve a global ceasefire. The clock is ticking,” he said.
The Secretary-General added that peace must be made on the planet because the climate emergency threatened life itself.
He said that the whole world must be mobilized to reach carbon neutrality, net zero emissions of greenhouse gasses by 2050.
According to him, a growing number of countries and companies have already pledged to meet this goal toward 2050.
Guterres said that more work had to be done to end human suffering from poverty, inequality, hunger and hatred and fight discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender or any other distinction.
He added that the months of the pandemic had seen a horrific rise in violence against women and girls.
Guterres emphasised the need to build on progress, stating that a remarkable global collaboration was underway for a safe, affordable and accessible COVID-19 vaccine for all.
“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) give us an inspiring blueprint for recovering better. We face colossal challenges but with global solidarity and cooperation, we can overcome them.
“On this anniversary, I ask people everywhere to join together. The United Nations not only stand with you, it belongs to you and is you, ‘we the peoples.’
“Together, let us uphold the enduring values of the United Nations Charter. Let us build on our advances across the decades and let us realise our shared vision of a better world for all,” the Secretary-General said.
In the meantime, Japan and Britain signed a free trade agreement on Friday that is to come into force at the end of the current post Brexit transition period.
Japanese Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi and Britain’s International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss signed the agreement in Tokyo.
It paves the way for the agreement to begin on Jan. 1, after Britain ceases to be bound by EU trade rules.
The deal is still subject to scrutiny by the parliaments of both countries.
The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was agreed in principle last month and hailed by Britain as its first major trade deal since it formally left the European Union.
The agreement is expected to boost British trade with Japan by an estimated 15.2 billion pounds (19.5 billion dollars), the British government said last month.
The agreement largely corresponds to the existing free trade agreement between Japan and the EU.
Britain formally left the EU on Jan. 31, and entered a transition period until the end of the year, during which it still belongs to the EU single market and customs union.
While Japanese companies welcome the agreement, they are also concerned over whether London will really be able to reach an agreement with the EU for the period after the end of the transition period.