Trump theatens to permanently cut off WHO funding, exit the organization

Washington DC, May 18 (efe-epa).- The United States’ president threatened on Monday to permanently cut funds to the World Health Organization (WHO) – currently suspended – and hinted at his country’s possible exit from the agency.

“If the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization,” Donald Trump wrote in a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom.

In the four-page letter, Trump announced that his government had already started discussions with Tedros on how to reform the organization but added that “action is needed quickly. We do not have time to waste.”

The US president also expressed concern at the WHO’s “alarming lack of independence from the People’s Republic of China” and urged the agency to disassociate itself from Beijing.

“The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” Trump said in the letter, which contains a list of grievances against Beijing and Tedros for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Apr. 14, Trump ordered the suspension of the US’ funding to the WHO – the country is the agency’s biggest donor – while a review was conducted to assess the WHO’s “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

In his letter on Monday to Tedros, Trump said that the review had confirmed many of the serious concerns he had raised last month.

Trump’s letter came on the day that the coronavirus death toll in the US topped 90,000 and the number of confirmed cases crossed 1.5 million making it the worst hit country by far.

After Trump’s decision to suspend WHO funding a month ago, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres had said that now was “not the time” to cut off funds to international agency.

“Once we have finally turned the page on this epidemic, there must be a time to look back fully to understand how such a disease emerged and spread its devastation so quickly across the globe, and how all those involved reacted to the crisis,” Guterres said in a statement.

Throughout his term at the White House, Trump has not hesitated to break from international consensus with his withdrawal from UNESCO, the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the nuclear pact with Iran. EFE-EPA


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