Trump threatens WHO with a final freeze and withdrawal

Donald Trump

Critics accuse the US President of being a scapegoat for the crisis.

(Photo: Reuters)

Washington US President Donald Trump has threatened the World Health Organization (WHO) with a final freeze in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. If the WHO does not commit to “significant improvements” within the next 30 days, he will also rethink the United States’ membership in the organization, a letter to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, which Trump published on Monday evening on Twitter.

Trump initiated a payment freeze to WHO a month ago. The measure met with international criticism. Trump accuses the United Nations agency of grave failures to fight pandemics and China. In mid-April, he announced that his government would investigate what role WHO had played in mismanagement in the corona crisis. This review confirmed many of his concerns, Trump said. In particular, it is about the “alarming lack” of independence from China.

“It is clear that the repeated mistakes that you and your organization have made in responding to the pandemic have made the world extremely expensive,” Trump said in his letter to Tedros. The WHO must show independence from China.

The government in Washington has already started talks about reforming the organization. “But you have to act quickly. We have no time to waste, ”Trump said. He cannot allow American taxpayers’ money to go to an organization that serves non-American interests.

Trump shares the responsibility for the large number of deaths in the crisis. The WHO’s mismanagement and reliance on information from China has dramatically worsened the epidemic and spread it globally, Trump’s accusation.

He also repeatedly criticized the fact that the WHO criticized an early entry ban he had issued for foreign travelers from China. Critics in the US accuse Trump of looking for a scapegoat to distract from his hesitation at the start of the corona crisis.

According to the WHO, which is based in Geneva, less than a quarter of the budget consists of the mandatory contributions of the member states. The USA is the largest payer in this group:

Almost $ 116 million is due for 2020 and 2021, respectively. China’s contribution for these two years is around $ 57 million each. China’s contributions have increased significantly in recent years: in 2018 and 2019, they were still at $ 37.9 million each, while they remained almost the same in the United States. The amount of membership fees depends on the population size and the prosperity of the country, according to the WHO.

In addition, there are voluntary contributions, which in the case of the United States totaled more than $ 656 million in 2018 and 2019, according to the WHO. China raised more than $ 10 million.

Trump repeatedly claims that the US pays between 400 and 500 million US dollars a year to the WHO, while China only pays around 40 million US dollars. If you take the mandatory and voluntary contributions together, you come to these values.

More: Disease expert Farrar warns: “Health must not be a political game ball.”

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