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Trump hands WHO formal notice of US withdrawal over handling of Covid-19

US President Donald Trump has been critical of the WHO and its links to China.
US President Donald Trump has been critical of the WHO and its links to China. AFP/File
2 min

US President Donald Trump has moved to formally pull the United States out of the World Health Organization over the global body's handling of the coronavirus crisis.

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After receiving notification of the decision, the United Nations – who Trump says has become a puppet for China – said the US hoped to leave on 6 July, 2021.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed the Trump administration had sent a formal notice to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Senator Robert Menendez, the leading Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote on Twitter: "Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the US from the WHO in the midst of a pandemic."

Trump, who first threatened to suspend $400 million in annual contributions before announcing a complete US withdrawal, had to give a year’s notice. Washington also must pay all of its dues under a 1948 joint resolution of the US Congress.

Despite international calls for him to reconsider, Trump said he was committed to redirecting US funds "to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs".

Domestic opposition

Joe Biden, Trump's presumptive Democratic opponent in November elections, vowed he would immediately end the pullout if he won the presidency.

"Americans are safer when America is engaged in strengthening global health. On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage," Biden wrote on Twitter.

Beijing has denied US allegations that it played down the threat when the coronavirus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

It says Washington is trying to shirk its responsibilities to the WHO and shift blame for its own uneven virus response.

(with AFP)

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