Dublin, April 16 (IANS) Irish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney on Wednesday described US President Donald Trump’s decision to halt funding for the World Health Organization (WHO) as “indefensible” and “shocking”.
He said in his twitter account that “this is indefensible decision, in midst of global pandemic” when so many vulnerable people around the world rely on the WHO, Xinhua reported.
“Deliberately undermining funding and trust now is shocking,” he said, adding that “Now is a time for global leadership and unity to save lives, not division and blame!”
Coveney is the first senior Irish official who has openly criticized the decision announced by Trump on Tuesday.
In another development, Professor Anthony Costello, a British paediatrician and former director of the Department of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health at the WHO, said Wednesday that it would “be extremely damaging to America’s reputation worldwide” if the US goes ahead with Trump’s decision.
Speaking in a TV programme of the Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE, Costello said the WHO has given much support to the world’s poorest countries in terms of testing, research and development in the fight against the pandemic.
He further noted that Trump has been hostile to the United Nations and made similar threats in the past and his latest threat is just a “short term attempt to divert attention from his own media performances”.
Costello served as director of the Department of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health at the WHO between 2015 and 2018.