EU urges Trump to rethink decision to cut ties with WHO

WION Web Team
London, London, UK (Great Britain) Published: May 30, 2020, 07:56 PM(IST)

WHO Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The move to quit the Geneva-based body, which the United States formally joined in 1948, comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus outbreak. The virus first emerged in China's Wuhan city late last year.

The European Union on Saturday urged United States President Donald Trump to reconsider its decision to cut ties with the World Health Organisation (WHO) over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

"In the face of this global threat, now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions. Actions that weaken international results must be avoided," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said in a statement.

"In this context, we urge the US to reconsider its announced decision," it said, a day after Trump announced the move, accusing the UN agency of becoming a puppet of China.

The move to quit the Geneva-based body, which the United States formally joined in 1948, comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus outbreak. The virus first emerged in China's Wuhan city late last year.

Trump said Chinese officials "ignored their reporting obligations" to the WHO about the virus -- which has killed hundreds of thousands of people globally -- and pressured the agency to "mislead the world."

Trump's decision follows a pledge last week by Chinese President Xi Jinping to give $2 billion to the WHO over the next two years to help combat the coronavirus. The amount almost matches the WHO's entire annual programme budget for last year.

Trump last month halted funding for the 194-member organisation, then in a May 18 letter gave the WHO 30 days to commit to reforms.

It was not immediately clear when his decision would come into effect. A 1948 joint resolution of Congress on US membership of the WHO said the country "reserves its right to withdraw from the organisation on a one-year notice."

The United States currently owes the WHO more than $200 million in assessed contributions, according to the WHO website. Washington also gives several hundred million dollars annually in voluntary funding tied to specific WHO programmes such as polio eradication, HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis.

(with inputs from Reuters)

Read in App