The 194 countries WHO will meet on Monday, virtually for the first time in its history to discuss the international response to the pandemic, with the us-china tensions, and discussions on Taiwan and vaccines as the topics of friction.
Many heads of State, governments and ministers must speak on the occasion of the world health Assembly, decision-making body of the un agency, which opens at 12: 00 noon, and will conclude the next day at mid-day.
Despite the escalation of tensions between Washington and Beijing, the countries hope to adopt by consensus a long resolution taken up by the EU. She asks to launch “the sooner […] a process of evaluation” to examine the international health response and measures taken by WHO to face the pandemic.
The text also calls on the WHO to “work closely with the world Organisation for animal health, the United Nations Organization for food and agriculture and the country […] in order to identify the source of zoonotic virus and to determine by what route it is introduced into the human population, […] in particular for scientific missions and tasks, and collaboration on the ground”.
It also calls for “universal access, timely and fair of all the products […] necessary to the response against the pandemic”, and highlights the role of a “large-scale immunization against the COVID-19, as a global public good, to prevent, contain and eliminate the transmission to put an end to the pandemic”.
“An informal agreement has been marked to adopt the resolution by consensus. This will be an important result because WHO will be the first global forum to end up in agreement on a text,” said a diplomatic source in europe. According to this source, even the questions “difficult” were discussed, including the origin of the virus and the WHO reform, and demanded, with loud cries, by the United States.
“No subject has been avoided” in the resolution, including, in particular to “continue to reform the WHO and, in particular, its capacity proved insufficient to prevent a crisis of this magnitude,” assured the same european sources to the AFP.
“I hope that we will be able to join a consensus”, said Friday the u.s. ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Andrew Bremberg.
Washington, which accuses Beijing of having concealed the extent of the epidemic, is engaged in a standoff with the WHO, accused by the us president Donald Trump to be “planted” in the management of the pandemic in line with the chinese position. It was in the wake suspended the u.s. contribution to the WHO.
Institutional reform, Taiwan, access to vaccines, experts sent from China… The topics that make people angry are not lacking, but the question of the origin of the virus remains the central point of the war of words between china and the united states. The United States are calling for an investigation on the topic, as well as Australia, and suspect that Beijing has concealed a laboratory accident that would have been at the origin of the pandemic.
Washington now lags China of attempting to hack into the u.s. research on a vaccine, in full rivalry of american-european on a future vaccine. And the american president Donald Trump has threatened to “cut relationship” with Beijing.
At the same time, the u.s. government believes that the WHO has failed an early warning coming from Taiwan on the severity of the coronavirus that belies the agency. And the United States, supported by some countries, have called on the WHO to invite Taiwan” to the AMS, in spite of the opposition of China.
However, after having received an observer status, Taiwan has been excluded from WHO in 2016, the year of the arrival of Tsai Ing-wen. The president refuses to recognize the principle of the unity of the island and the mainland of China within a single country.
In Geneva, WHO assures us that it is only to member States that the decision to accept or not Taiwan. Remains to be seen whether a country is going to call for a vote.
If he were to have a vote, this “torpillerait” the very functioning of the assembly because of the logistical problems it would pose, ” said a diplomatic source.