The UN secretary-general on Thursday said the international community should put their differences aside and focus on the COVID-19 outbreak, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.

“Meanwhile, we are also seeing a pandemic of polarization and division. Our world needs to come together and focus on our common enemy, the virus,” said Antonio Guterres, speaking at the 7th Istanbul Mediation Conference held virtually due to the pandemic.

Guterres said he appealed for a global cease-fire in an effort to intensify support for political processes and peace.

“Of course, we have to do things differently in this new normal. But by making the most of the power of technology, we can find innovative ways to engage with conflict parties and others,” he said.

Let us keep working to achieve real and sustainable peace, he said, adding that inclusion of women, local communities and youth were of important to enhance inclusivity of the peace processes.

The international mediation conference, which was first held in 2012, includes local and international experts of peace and conflict resolution.

It will address three main subjects — current situation in the conflict regions, peace and conflict dynamics in the post-virus period and the relation between digitalization and peace-building.

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