U.S. notifies World Health Organization withdrawal

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The Trump administration has officially informed the United Nations of its withdrawal from the World Health Organization, although the withdrawal will not take effect until next year, which means it could be canceled under a new administration or if circumstances change. Former US Vice President Joe Biden, presumed Democratic presidential candidate, said he would reverse his decision on the first day of his term if elected.The withdrawal notification, issued on Monday, confirms the wish of US President Donald Trump in late May to end US participation in WHO, which he severely criticized for his response to the coronavirus pandemic and accused of bowing before the Chinese influence.

The decision was immediately attacked by health officials and critics of the administration, including many Democrats who said it would cost American influence on the world stage.

Biden has said in the past that he supports the WHO and pledged to join the group on Tuesday if he defeats Trump in November. “Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health. On the first day of my presidency, I will join WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage, ”he said.

Trump is following Biden in several polls and has sought to divert criticism of his administration’s handling of the virus by aggressively attacking China and the WHO.

The withdrawal notice was sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday and will take effect in a year on July 6, 2021, the State Department and the United Nations announced on Tuesday.

The State Department said the U.S. would continue to seek WHO reform, but made reference to Trump’s June 15 response when asked if the administration could change its mind. “I don’t reconsider, unless they agree, and I’m not sure they can at this point,” said Trump.

Guterres, as custodian of the 1946 WHO constitution, “is in the process of verifying with the World Health Organization if all the conditions for such a withdrawal are met,” said his spokesperson. speech, Stéphane Dujarric.

Under the withdrawal, the United States must meet its financial obligations to WHO before it is finalized. The United States, which is the agency’s largest donor and provides the agency with more than US $ 400 million a year, currently owes WHO some US $ 200 million in current and past contributions.

On May 29, less than two weeks after notifying the WHO that he had 30 days left to reform or lose US support, Trump announced that his administration was leaving the organization because of what he said was his inadequate response to the initial coronavirus epidemic in China. Wuhan Province at the end of last year.

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The president said in a White House announcement that Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to WHO and put pressure on the organization to mislead the public about an epidemic that killed more than 130,000 Americans.

“We detailed the reforms he needs to carry out and engaged directly with them, but they refused to act,” Trump said at the time. “Because they have failed to make the much-needed and much-needed reforms, we will end the relationship today. “

“It will not protect American life or interests”

The withdrawal notification has been widely reported to be flawed, which risks undermining an important institution leading the development of vaccines and drug trials to fight the COVID-19 epidemic.

Republican chairman of the Senate health committee, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, said he did not agree with the decision.

“Certainly the mistakes that the World Health Organization may have made with regard to coronaviruses must be examined carefully and seriously, but the time has come to resolve the crisis, not in the midst of it”, a- he declared. .

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“Calling Trump’s response to chaotic and inconsistent COVID doesn’t do him justice,” said New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, the greatest Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “It won’t protect the lives or interests of Americans – it leaves Americans sick and America alone. ”

Senator Patty Murray, the best Democrat on the health committee, has called for Trump’s decision to withdraw “the abdication of America’s role as the world leader.”

“It’s the opposite of putting America first – it will put America in danger,” Murray said in a statement. “Refusing to work with our partners around the world to fight this pandemic will only prolong the crisis, further weaken our international position and leave us less prepared for future crises. “

The President of the United Nations Foundation, Elizabeth Cousens, described this decision as “short-sighted, useless and unequivocal, dangerous. WHO is the only organization capable of leading and coordinating the global response to COVID-19. The end of relations with the United States would undermine the global effort to beat this virus – putting us all at risk. ”

The ONE campaign, which supports international health projects, has called it an “amazing action” that endangers global health.

“Withdrawing from the World Health Organization in the midst of an unprecedented global pandemic is an astonishing action that endangers the security of all Americans and the world. The United States should use its influence to strengthen and reform WHO, not abandon it at a time when the world needs it most, “said ONE President Gayle Smith.



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