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WHO Lawyer Rules Out Inviting Taiwan to World Health Assembly Amid Divide Among Members

Sputnik News

18:09 GMT 11.05.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief has no mandate to invite Taiwan to join this month's key summit, the World Health Assembly, given a divide over the matter among member states, who have the last word on who attends meetings as observers, the agency's principal legal officer said on Monday.

"The director-general, is the secretary of the health assembly, according to the constitution. Member states, and only member states, determine the policies of the organization at those meetings, make the final decision on what they will discuss and they themselves determine who attends as observers. To put it crisply, director-generals only extend invitations when it's clear that member states support doing so," Steven Solomon said.

The current situation is far from that, he noted.

"Instead of clear support, there are divergent views among member states, and no basis, and therefore no mandate for the [director-general] to extend an invitation," the lawyer stated

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to invite Taiwan to the upcoming WHO summit as an observer "as he has the power to do and as his predecessors have done on multiple occasions." He also called on all nations, including those in Europe, to back Taiwan's participation as an observer at the assembly and in other UN venues.

Beijing strongly opposes Taiwan's bid for a WHO observer status, seeing it as a violation of the "One China" principle.

© Sputnik

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