US President Donald Trump threatened to freeze American funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), saying it “missed the call” on the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far killed more than 82,000 people around the world.
Trump said on Tuesday the WHO “called it wrong” on the virus and the UN organisation was “very China-centric” in its approach, suggesting the agency had gone along with Beijing’s efforts months ago to minimise the severity of the outbreak.
Trump declared he would cut off funding from the United States for the organisation, before backtracking and saying he would “strongly consider” such a move.
Trump’s conservatives allies have also increasingly criticised the WHO, accusing the organisation of relying on faulty data from China about the pandemic.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump, vowed there would not be any funding for the WHO in the next Senate appropriations bill.
“I’m in charge of the appropriations subcommittee. I’m not going to support funding the WHO under its current leadership. They’ve been deceptive, they’ve been slow, and they’ve been Chinese apologists,” Graham said in an interview with Fox News.
Last week, Republican Senator Marco Rubio called for the resignation of WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying “he allowed Beijing to use the WHO to mislead the global community”.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric rejected the criticism of the UN agency.
“For the Secretary General [Antonio Guterres] it is clear that WHO, under the leadership of Dr Tedros, has done tremendous work on COVID in supporting countries with millions of pieces of equipment being shipped out, on helping countries with training, on providing global guidelines. WHO is showing the strength of the international health system,” he told reporters.
Dujarric added the WHO also recently did “tremendous work” in putting its staff on the frontlines to successfully fight Ebola, an infectious and often fatal disease, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The WHO did not respond to a request for comment on Trump’s derogatory remarks.
Source : Aljazeera