Trump envoy to Canada defends pause in World Health Organization funding

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OTTAWA — Donald Trump’s envoy to Canada is defending the U.S. president’s controversial decision to temporarily stop funding the World Health Organization during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Acting ambassador Richard Mills says the pause in funding ordered by the president is necessary so the U.S. can assess the WHO’s transparency and accountability.

The U.S. is the UN agency’s top funder, providing hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

Last week, Trump accused the WHO of a cover-up and making mistakes in handling the outbreak in China.

Trump has been widely condemned internationally for the decision while the Trudeau government has maintained its support for the WHO during the pandemic fight.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says questions about the WHO’s role in the pandemic should be answered later, not during the international effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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