Newly confirmed Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to reporters during his first press conference at the State Department in Washington on January 27, 2021.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday that the United States will pay the World Health Organization the more than $ 200 million by the end of the month, reaffirming the new administration’s commitment to global health.
“This is an important step forward in fulfilling our financial commitments as a WHO member and reflects our renewed commitment to ensuring that WHO receives the support it needs to lead the global response to the pandemic, even as we do work to reform them for the future. ” “Blinken told the UN Security Council during a video conference.
“The United States will work with our partners around the world to expand production and distribution capabilities and improve access, including marginalized populations,” said Blinken in his first speech since being named the country’s best diplomat.
Blinken also urged his colleagues to combat misinformation about vaccines and to pass on relevant information about the origin of the coronavirus to investigators.
“The ongoing expert inquiry into the causes of this pandemic and the report that will be published must be independent of scientific and fact-based evidence and free from interference,” said Blinken. “To better understand this pandemic and prepare for the next one, all countries must provide all data from the earliest days of the outbreak,” he added.
Blinken’s remarks come as President Joe Biden works to tackle the unfolding coronavirus pandemic that killed more than 2.4 million people and infected more than 109.6 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. In the United States, the coronavirus has infected more than 27.7 million people and killed at least 488,295 people.
In one of his first acts as president, Biden overturned former President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the Geneva-based health organization of the United Nations.
In April, Trump said he had suspended US funding for the organization pending a review, citing what he described as “the World Health Organization’s role in the serious mismanagement and cover-up of the spread of the coronavirus”.
A month later, he announced his intention to remove the US from the organization amid the coronavirus pandemic, citing the so-called misuse of funding by the WHO and its cozy relationship with China.
“China is in total control of the World Health Organization even though it only pays $ 40 million a year, compared to what the United States paid, which is roughly $ 450 million a year,” Trump said.
In July, the Trump administration sent the UN Secretary-General its notice to withdraw the US from the World Health Organization by July 6, 2021.
In October, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he hoped the United States would reconsider its decision to leave WHO, adding that the coronavirus could not be defeated “in a divided world”.
“The problem is not the money. It is not the funding that is the problem. It is actually the relationship with the US that is more important and its overseas leadership,” Ghebreyesus told a virtual audience at the Aspen Security Forum.