Trump threatens to permanently cut off WHO funding

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Washington, May 19 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently cut funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) and also hinted at Washington’s possible exit from the agency.
“If the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of US funding permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization,” Trump wrote in a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom on Monday.
In the four-page letter, Trump announced that his government had already started discussions with Tedros on how to reform the organization but added that “action is needed quickly. We do not have time to waste”.
The President also expressed concern at the WHO’s “alarming lack of independence from the People’s Republic of China” and urged the agency to disassociate itself from the Asian giant where the pandemic originated last December.
“The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” Trump said in the letter, which contains a list of grievances against Beijing and Tedros for their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
On April 14, Trump ordered the suspension of the US’ funding to the WHO – the country is the agency’s biggest donor – while a review was conducted to assess the WHO’s “role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus”.
In his letter on Monday, Trump said that the review had confirmed many of the serious concerns he had raised last month.
Trump’s letter came on the day that the coronavirus death toll in the US topped 90,000 and the number of confirmed cases crossed 1.5 million making it the worst hit country so far.
Throughout his term at the White House, Trump has not hesitated to break from international consensus with his withdrawal from Unesco, the UN Human Rights Council, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the nuclear pact with Iran.