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EU urges US to think again on WHO split

31 May 2020, MVT 09:17
US President Donald Trump waits before signing an executive order on social-media companies in the Oval Office of the White House on May, 28, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)
31 May 2020, MVT 09:17

The European Union on Saturday called on the United States to "reconsider" the decision to sever ties with the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump said Friday he was severing US ties with the WHO, accusing it of failing to do enough to combat the initial spread of the virus.

The United States was the largest contributor to the WHO budget, providing at least $400 million in annual funding.

"The WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future," Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said in a joint statement.

"For this, the participation and support of all is required and very much needed."

The statement noted that the EU had already provided additional funding for the UN agency.

"As the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the main task for everyone is to save lives and contain and mitigate this pandemic," it said.

"Now is the time for enhanced cooperation and common solutions. Actions that weaken international results must be avoided."

"We urge the US to reconsider its announced decision."

Trump initially suspended funding to the WHO last month, charging it with being too lenient with China, where the virus emerged late last year.

He said Friday the US would be redirecting WHO funds "to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs."

Brussels, Belgium | AFP

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