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Sun 31 May 2020 02:46 PM

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UAE reiterates strong support for World Health Organisation

UAE Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh stressed importance of backing international organisations

UAE reiterates strong support for World Health Organisation

UAE Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh was speaking at a webinar organised by the Emirates Literature Foundation.

The UAE fully supports the World Health Organisation (WHO) and has no intention to follow America in removing its funding for the global outfit, according to UAE Minister of State Zaki Nusseibeh.

US President Donald Trump on Friday announced that the United States would be terminating its relationship with the WHO, a move he has threatened a number of times throughout the coronavirus pandemic and one that will see around $450 million in funding removed from the WHO coffers.

"Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organisation and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs," Trump said.

However, Nusseibeh, who was speaking at a webinar entitled ‘How will the events of 2020 change the course of history’, on Saturday, organised by Emirates Literature Foundation, said the WHO and all other United Nations organisations retained the full support of the UAE.

“We believe in the UAE in the importance of supporting those international organisations,” he said.

“What is needed is the re-invigoration of these institutions. They are as strong as the member states allow them to work, but they did save us from major power confrontations and we do need them as we move into the future.”

Joining Nusseibeh on the webinar was Indian politician Shashi Tharoor, who agreed that the international organisations should be given increased powers for the greater good. Tharoor alleged that China had refused WHO investigators visa access to look into the outbreak in Wuhan back in early January.

He said: “If this is true, and I have no reason to believe it’s not true as it’s from reputable sources, then it’s simply the way these agencies are set up. Member states have the right to refuse them visas if they don’t want them to come.

“Perhaps on some issues, and international public health is clearly a compelling issue, particularly for us to face at this time, there should be an understanding among all member states, agreed in writing, that independent agencies will be allowed to travel and to see situations for themselves and judge for themselves and member states shall not deny them permission to travel.”

Tharoor was formerly Under-Secretary General of the UN and contested the post of Secretary General in 2006.

He feared that the latest actions by Trump, coupled with his ‘America First’ campaigning, flew in the face of the philosophical principals that led to the formation of the various global organisations at the end of the Second World War.

He said: “Countries said we must cooperate, we must sacrifice a little bit of our self interest in order to work collectively for the shared interests of humanity, and that was the logic behind multilateralism.

“I’m sorry to see that at a time when this type of crisis ought to have brought us closer together, where we should be saying we should be better mutlilateralists, so the whole world could have been warned in time and we could have taken better steps to prepare, instead you have the US leaving WHO, which I think is a genuine tragedy.

“If we see an unravelling of the system which was set up after 1945, we will all be losers in my view.”

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