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Iran Press TV

WHO chief expresses regret over Trump move to cut funding

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 15 April 2020 5:01 PM

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed regret over the US president's decision to cut funding to the body at the time of the new coronavirus pandemic.

"This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters during a video conference from the WHO's headquarters in Geneva on Wednesday. "When we are divided, the coronavirus exploits the cracks between us."

He also reiterated that the UN body is reviewing the possible impacts of the US President Donald Trump's decision, adding that the organization would work with its partners "to fill any financial gaps" and to ensure its activities will continue uninterrupted.

Tedros' comments come a day after Trump announced that the US would halt its financial support of the WHO.

"Today I'm instructing my administration to halt funding of the World Health Organization while a review is conducted to assess the World Health Organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus," Trump said in a news briefing in Washington on Tuesday.

He added that review of the Geneva-based agency would take somewhere between "60 to 90 days."

Trump has repeatedly accused the WHO of siding with China and reliance on Chinese data, blaming it for "all sorts of false information about transmission and mortality" that was circulated amid initial reports.

The US contributed $400 million to the WHO last year, roughly 15% of its budget.

Meanwhile, the move by Trump drew harsh international reactions. The European Union, the African Union, China, France and Germany all criticized the US president for his abrupt move.

The US organizations and NGOs also gave a cold shoulder to the decision.

On Wednesday, the US Chamber of Commerce accused Trump of damaging the country's interests through ending Washington's funding to the WHO.

"Cutting the WHO's funding during the COVID-19 pandemic is not in US interest given the organisation's critical role assisting other countries - particularly in the developing world - in their response," US Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant said in a press release.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also announced that it will continue to cooperate with the WHO to mitigate the novel coronavirus pandemic.

"WHO has been a long-term and still is a great partner for us," CDC Director Robert Redfield told CBS on Wednesday. "For me and for CDC and the public health arena, we're continuing to work side by side with WHO to do the best that we can to limit the spread of disease and to protect the American people."

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