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'Blaming won't help': Germany slams Trump's WHO payment freeze

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 15 Apr, 2020 Updated Wed 15 Apr 2020 13:53 CEST
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Germany slammed Wednesday the US decision to suspend payments to the World Health Organization (WHO), as Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned against "blaming others" for the coronavirus crisis.

US President Donald Trump announced the funding freeze on Tuesday, accusing
the WHO of "severely mismanaging" the spread of the virus.

"Blaming others won't help. The virus knows no borders," Maas wrote on Twitter.

"One of the best investments is to strengthen the UN, above all the under-financed WHO... in the development and distribution of tests and vaccines."

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert, meanwhile, said that the WHO was doing
"unbelievably important work".

"The government is convinced of the need to support and sufficiently finance the WHO," he added.

The United States is the biggest contributor to the WHO, making payments of
$400 million last year. Germany is the fourth largest contributor behind China and Japan, according to Statista.

Trump accused the Geneva-based body of putting "political correctness above
life-saving measures".

The move sparked criticism across the world, and Berlin joined the chorus
on Wednesday, with Seibert saying that the pandemic was cause to "uphold our
fundamental belief in the benefits of multilateralism".

Foreign Minister Maas, meanwhile, stressed the need for countries to "work
together closely against COVID-19".

Maas has previously taken aim at the Trump administration's reaction to the
virus crisis.

In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine last week, he said the United States had "played down the virus for a very long time".

"There really isn't any dispute, even in the USA, that many of the measures were taken too late," he told Spiegel.

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