US withdrawal from WHO over claims of influence from China to take effect in July 2021: UN

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States will leave the World Health Organization (WHO) on July 6, 2021, the United Nations said Tuesday, after receiving notification of the decision by President Donald Trump, who accused the agency. of becoming a puppet for China during the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Before a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on June 25, 2020, a logo of the World Health Organization (WHO) is seen. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse

Trump, who announced the decision more than a month ago, must notify the U.S. withdrawal from the Geneva-based body one year in advance and pay all Washington fees under a joint 1948 resolution of the United States Congress. . The United States currently owes WHO more than $ 200 million in assessed contributions, according to the WHO website.

After more than 70 years of membership, the United States moved to resign from the WHO amid mounting tensions with China over the coronavirus pandemic. The virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

The WHO has denied Trump’s claims that it promoted Chinese “disinformation” about the virus.

President of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi described Trump’s official withdrawal as “an act of true folly as WHO coordinates the global fight against COVID-19.”

“With millions of lives at risk, the president is paralyzing the international effort to defeat the virus,” the Democratic leader posted on Twitter.

So far there have been nearly 12 million coronavirus cases and more than 540,000 known deaths worldwide, according to a Reuters count, with approximately 25% of both cases and deaths in the United States.

Trump’s decision could be reversed before it takes effect if he is defeated by his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, in a November election.

Trump had stopped funding for the 194-member organization in April, then, in a letter from May 18, gave WHO 30 days to commit to reforms. He announced that the United States would resign less than two weeks later.

Vice President Mike Pence, asked in a Fox News Channel interview if the time was right to break with the WHO, said: “It is absolutely the right time.”

“The World Health Organization disappointed the world … There must be consequences for this,” said Pence.

WHO is an independent international body that works with the United Nations. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the WHO is “absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against COVID-19.”

“The Secretary-General … is in the process of verifying with the World Health Organization whether all the conditions for such a withdrawal are met,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement Tuesday.

Since taking office, Trump has also resigned from the UN Human Rights Council, the UN cultural agency, a global deal to tackle climate change, and the nuclear deal with Iran. It has also cut funds for the UN population fund and the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees.

Report by Michelle Nichols; Additional reports from Mohammad Zargham and Eric Beech; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Bill Berkrot

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