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US prevents Security Council vote on pandemic: diplomats

The US blocked a procedure that would have led to a vote on the resolution; file image of Council from February 26, 2020
The US blocked a procedure that would have led to a vote on the resolution; file image of Council from February 26, 2020 Johannes EISELE AFP/File
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United Nations (United States) (AFP)

The United States on Friday prevented a vote in the UN Security Council on a resolution on the coronavirus pandemic, apparently because it made implicit mention of the World Health Organization, diplomats said.

The text, under negotiation since March, called for a worldwide cessation of hostilities in conflict zones so governments can address the pandemic.

The US blocked a procedure that would have led to a vote on the resolution, the diplomats said.

President Donald Trump has been sharply critical of the WHO over what he calls its mishandling of the global health crisis and suspended US funding of the UN agency.

Trump, who has himself been accused of dragging his feet over the US response to the outbreak, has said the WHO acted too late and blindly supported China, which initially downplayed the illness that emerged in the city of Wuhan.

The US is the largest contributor to the WHO, offering more than $400 million each year, which also goes to combat other diseases around the world including polio and malaria.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has been pushing for a global ceasefire for more than a month, urging all sides in conflict to lay down arms and allow war-torn nations to combat the coronavirus.

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