parPar Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA (Reuters) – France and Germany have expressed on Thursday a political and financial support to the world health Organization (WHO) in its fight against the coronavirus, Berlin, stating that it would provide a funding record half a billion euros this year.
The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking at a press conference in Geneva, said that the agency, criticized by the United States to have slowed down the fight against the pandemic, obtained the financial and political support that it needed.
The american president Donald Trump said last month that the United States were in the process of breaking ties with the WHO’s ” China-centric “, but it still has not officially notified the agency of the United Nations.
The United States is the largest donor overall to the WHO based in Geneva, contributing to more than $ 400 million in 2019, or about 15% of its budget.
The German minister of Health, Jens Spahn, said that the 500 million euros ($561 million) were the “highest amount we have ever given” to the WHO.
“More than ever we need a WHO strong, transparent and accountable “, he said. “One WHO is able to lead and coordinate the response effort in the world. ”
France has said it would give € 90 million to a research center of the WHO in Lyon, as well as an additional contribution of 50 million euros.
“I truly believe that the world has more need than ever of a multilateral organization,” said the French minister of Health, Olivier Veran. “I believe that the world can not get rid of his partners. We need a comprehensive response (to COVID-19) and the only WHO can provide that answer. ”
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
According to an assessment by Reuters, most of 9,44 million people have been infected by the coronavirus in the world and 481 672 have died so far.
European governments work with the United States on plans to rebuild the WHO, said a top european manager of health last week, warning that Europe shares some of the concerns that have led Washington to say that she was going to resign.
(1 $ = 0,8920 euros)
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Joseph Nasr, Silke Koltrowitz and Matthias Blamont; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Gareth Jones)