Germany 'Very Supportive' Of WHO, Worried By US Disengagement - Diplomat

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 08th July, 2020) Germany continues to support the World Health Organization and does not see it as a good idea to hamper it at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Chief of the country's Embassy in the United States Ricklef Beutin said after the US officially announced its withdrawal.

"The German Chancellor, the German government, but, frankly, also the German society is very supportive of the WHO, because we feel this is a crucial organization in the fight against COVID-19, against many pandemics that we have seen in the past, other diseases around the world," Beutin said at the Atlantic Council event on Tuesday.

He added that Germany has pledged 500 million Euros to the WHO this year alone, "because we feel it is so important."

"We need tools to overcome this threat internationally. We need international tools and some of these tools are international organizations and upfront in this challenge is the WHO," the diplomat said.

He spoke shortly after the US administration notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the WHO effective July 6, 2021. US President Donald Trump routinely accuses the organization of colluding with China to cover up the origins and handling of the coronavirus outbreak.

"While criticism is welcome... we feel it's not a good idea to hamper the organization while in the full thrust and breadth of this pandemic," Beutin said. "We are all for talking about how to make the organization better, but we feel that we need it and we will need it in the future to overcome this challenge. So we are a bit worried about attempts to not take part in it."

In April, Trump announced a temporary freeze of US funding for the WHO and warned that the freeze would become permanent unless the organization committed to major changes within 30 days. However, in late May, Trump confirmed the United States would withdraw from the WHO and redirect funds to other global health needs.

The WHO said it declared the coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency in January, which gave countries enough time to prepare. Chinese officials have repeatedly said they shared information on the outbreak in a timely manner.