The President of United States Donald Trump has officially notified the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres about US withdrawal from WHO.
The news comes months after Trump accused the World Health Organization of being controlled by China in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Trump had also threatened to pull out of United States funds and redirect them elsewhere. Despite calls from the EU, the President has refused to reconsider his stance.
According to Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general, the notice will officially take effect on July 6, 2021. The US will also have to pay an outstanding fee as part of the Congress resolution in 1948.
A senior US administration official also said that Washington in its detailed draft urged new reforms to be made in the World Health Organisation, however, the WHO refused to act. Despite engaging with the organization directly, it did not make the proposed reforms.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship,” the official was quoted as saying.
Reacting to the news, Senator Robert Menendez, the leading Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, tweeted: “Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the US from the WHO in the midst of a pandemic. It leaves Americans sick and America alone.”
Congress received notification that POTUS officially withdrew the U.S. from the @WHO in the midst of a pandemic.
To call Trump’s response to COVID chaotic & incoherent doesn't do it justice. This won't protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick & America alone.
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) July 7, 2020
Joe Biden who is the topmost candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election took to twitter to write: “On my first day as President, I will rejoin the WHO and restore our leadership on the world stage.”
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. https://t.co/8uazVIgPZB
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 7, 2020
The United States is the single largest contributor of the WHO which is a global health agency. It has spent over $400m in 2019 which is 15% of its total budget. The move could endanger the WHO’s financial stability. It would also risk its many programs tackling diseases and promoting healthcare all over the world.