19 May 2020. AFP: The World Health Organization (WHO) member states have decided to conduct an independent investigation into the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” should also consider WHO’s role and timing, the resolution adopted on Tuesday said. US President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently stop the payment of US contributions and to withdraw from the UN organization.
In the resolution adopted at the virtual annual WHO meeting, member states not only call for an independent investigation, but also for a joint response to the pandemic. The primary aim of the federal states is to ensure that possible vaccines and medicines are made available “transparently, fairly and in good time” for all countries and people.
The non-binding resolution was introduced by the European Union. Contrary to previous fears that the United States would vote against, it was fundamentally supported by the representatives of Washington. However, the United States published a parallel statement in which it distanced itself from certain points – especially regarding the access and distribution of vaccines.
In recent weeks, WHO has been accused by various parties of responding too late to the appearance of the new coronavirus in China. In particular, US President Trump accuses WHO of “mismanagement” and one-sidedness in favor of China.
Trump now exacerbated this criticism: On Monday evening (local time), he published pictures of a letter to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Twitter, in which he called for “substantial improvements” in the work of the organization. At the same time, he called the WHO “China’s puppet”.
“It is clear that the repeated failures of you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have made the world extremely expensive,” Trump wrote to the WHO chief. If the WHO does not make the required changes within the next 30 days, its government will stop paying its contributions permanently. In addition, his government would “rethink” its membership of WHO, the US president warned. The United States is the largest contributor to the WHO. According to Trump, US payments to the organization amount to around $ 450 million annually.
Beijing responded with a sharp replica on Tuesday. The President of the United States is only concerned with denigrating China’s response to the pandemic, distracting it from its “own inadequate response” and “avoiding its country’s commitments to WHO,” said a State Department spokesman in Beijing. “This is a miscalculation,” added the spokesman. “The United States chose the wrong destination.”
Moscow also criticized Washington. At the WHO, everything shouldn’t be destroyed just because of the “political or geopolitical interests” of a single state, warned Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, according to the Interfax news agency.
Faced with the dispute, the EU called for better cooperation in the crisis. “Now is the time for solidarity, not blaming or undermining multilateral cooperation,” a spokeswoman said in Brussels on Tuesday. International efforts such as that of WHO are “the only effective and viable option” in the fight against the corona pandemic.
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) also referred to the global nature of the current situation. “No virus stops at national borders. Either we can do it together – or not at all.” With the resolution passed at the annual conference, the world community has now voted for joint action, Maas emphasized. “And I am sure: this is how we will defeat the virus.”
Worldwide, more than 4.8 million people have now been infected with the novel corona virus, and more than 318,000 people have died. The United States is the most affected country with more than 1.5 million infected and more than 90,000 dead.