KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Three weeks ahead of a deadline which he imposed on the World Health Organisation, US President Donald Trump has suddenly severed all links with the United Nations agency.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs,” Trump said as reported by CNN yesterday.
Trump had earlier announced a temporary halt of funding and sent a letter on May 19 to WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in which he warned that the US would permanently cut funding support to the WHO.
He also stated that the US would reconsider its membership if the organisation did “not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days.”
He said, “I cannot allow American taxpayer dollars to continue to finance an organization that, in its present state, is so clearly not serving America’s interests.”
At USD 450 million, the US is WHO’s largest donor, providing support to many of its programmes.
Trump announced his decision to terminate its relationship during a press conference where he attacked China and again accused the country of influencing WHO to mislead governments regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities.”
“Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe,” he said.
In previous occassions, Trump has repeatedly blamed China for the worldwide spread of Covid-19.
During the World Health Assembly held earlier this month, member states agreed there should be a thorough review of WHO’s Covid-19 response.