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Trump Threatens Permanent Freeze in WHO Funding, Weighs US Membership

By Reuters 19 May 2020

US President Donald Trump threatened on Monday to permanently halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) if it did not commit to improvements within 30 days, and to reconsider the membership of the US in the body.

Trump suspended US contributions to the WHO last month, accusing it of promoting China’s “disinformation” about the coronavirus outbreak, although WHO officials denied the accusation and China said it was transparent and open.

“If the WHO does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the WHO permanent and reconsider our membership,” Trump told its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a letter posted on Twitter.

Earlier, Trump said the WHO had “done a very sad job” in its handling of the virus and he would make a decision soon on US funding.

In his letter Trump said the only way forward for the body was if it could demonstrate independence from China, adding that his administration had already started reform discussions with Tedros.

On Monday, the WHO said an independent review of the global virus response would begin as soon as possible. It recently received backing and a hefty pledge of funds from China, which is in the spotlight as the origin of the pandemic.

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