In mid-April, Secretary of State Maas had appealed to his US counterpart Pompeo to “consider” the consequences of the payment freeze to WHO. The reply letter shows serious differences.
Sarcastic letter from Washington
The US continues to oppose the World Health Organization (WHO) imposed payment freeze firmly and have sharply rejected criticism from Germany. “Our top priority is the protection of life, non-publicity gestures and petty politics,” says a response letter from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to his German colleague Heiko Maas (SPD) that the Süddeutsche Zeitung is present.
In a letter to Pompeo in mid-April, Maas had “emphatically” asked to consider the consequences of the payment freeze and, during the ongoing crisis, not to operationalize any steps that would permanently weaken the responsible institutions in the United Nations system. Pompeo did not respond to this request. US President Donald Trump justified the freeze with alleged WHO errors in the fight against the corona pandemic and accused the organization of bowing to the pressure from the leadership in Beijing. At a donor conference organized by the EU Commission to develop a vaccine against Covid-19 the USA did not participate.
Rather, in his letter to Maas, Pompeo reiterated criticism of the WHO. Despite a “chain of failure” of the organization, the American people had been its largest donor for decades. “From SARS to H1N1 and Ebola to the Wuhan virus, WHO has repeatedly failed to deliver on its core mission of helping ‘all peoples’ achieve the highest possible level of health care,” he said. As the largest donor to the WHO, the United States “has a particular interest in its functioning, its transparency and in being accountable”.
“We are counting on you, Heiko”
What is needed is “functioning, reliable global institutions, and non-dysfunctional, inept bureaucracies that bow to the Chinese Communist Party at the cost of human lives,” Pompeo wrote, adding to Maas, “Do you agree?” Elsewhere it says: “We are counting on you, Heiko, to lead this fight for freedom with us.”
The sometimes almost sarcastic tone of the writing is characteristic of the serious and hardly concealed dissonances between Washington and Berlin, which are also evident in the Corona crisis.
The United States wanted to continue to reform WHO, Pompeo announced. The WHO’s “timing” in explaining the international health emergency, “its unjustified criticism of the US efforts to protect the American people and its public chewing before the Chinese Communist Party regime” should be examined.
The United States continued to feel “deeply committed” to international cooperation in the fight against the corona pandemic. Pompeo wrote that nobody is more generous than the Americans when it comes to fighting the pandemic and its humanitarian consequences. The U.S. has already provided $ 745 million, and hundreds more will follow in the coming weeks.