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U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft on Friday backed President Trump’s decision to pause funding to the World Health Organization, accusing the U.N. agency of lacking both the trust and transparency that is needed as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic
“.@POTUS decision to pause @WHO funding is about ensuring full transparency to avoid more deadly mistakes on #COVID19. #WHO’s negligence re. China’s cover-up must not be overlooked or repeated,” Craft said in a statement on Twitter. “This crisis requires trust & transparency, and at this point, both are lacking at WHO.”
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Trump announced Tuesday that the U.S. will launch a months-long investigation into the organization, which he accused of causing “so much death” by “severely mismanaging and covering up” the coronavirus’ spread.
The organization has come under fire for its alleged pro-China bias, repeating claims by Chinese officials that it could not be spread from person to person, and praising the country’s “transparency” and response to the virus.
Trump has also flagged initial opposition to his travel ban from China as one reason for the pause.
“We have deep concerns over whether America’s generosity has been put to the best use possible,” Trump said in the Rose Garden.
On Friday, in an interview with NPR, Craft emphasized that WHO’s alleged mishandling of the crisis cost lives by putting out bad information from China early on.
“Had it been accurate, had they managed the information they received early on, it would have obviously slowed the virus and it would have saved thousands of lives,” Craft said. “And I think that’s where we have a real issue with this. It’s about the American lives and it’s about the lives of those in the world.”
The United States is the WHO’s largest single donor, and the State Department had previously planned to provide the agency $893 million in the current two-year funding period. Trump said the United States contributes roughly $400 to $500 million per year to WHO, while China offers only about $40 million.
On Thursday the White House announced that the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are calling for a “thorough review and reform process” for the WHO.
“The leaders recognized that the G7 nations annually contribute more than a billion dollars to the World Health Organization (WHO), and much of the conversation centered on the lack of transparency and chronic mismanagement of the pandemic by the WHO,” the White House statement said. “The leaders called for a thorough review and reform process.”
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Craft, in her statement on Friday, said that the pause “in no way diminishes American determination to lead the global fight against #COVID19.”
“The US is providing millions in global #coronavirus aid thru @StateDept, @USAID & partners. Individual Americans, faith-based orgs, and U.S. business have contributed $1.5 billion+,” she said.
Under the Trump administration, the U.S. has pulled out or defunded a number of organizations whose actions it has objected to. It pulled out of the Human Rights Council and the U.N.’s educational, scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO), as well as defunding the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA.)