WHO regrets Trump decision to halt funding over coronavirus response

US has been 'a longstanding and generous friend to WHO,' leader says

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LONDON — The head of the World Health Organization says it regrets the U.S. decision to halt funding.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the U.S. has been "a longstanding and generous friend to WHO and we hope it will continue to be so."

He made the comments after President Donald Trump announced a halt to U.S. funding, temporarily suspending millions of dollars from the U.N health agency's biggest funder.

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Tedros says WHO remained committed to slowing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and it would work with its partners to ensure that any funding shortfall could be met.

FILE - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP, File)

"COVID-19 does not discriminate between rich nations and poor, large nations and small," Tedros said. "This is a time for all of us to be united in our common struggle against a common threat, a dangerous enemy. When we're divided, the virus exploits the cracks between us."

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Tedros says WHO's member countries and independent organizations will assess the U.N. health agency’s performance at a later day. But the focus must remain on ending the outbreak.