Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), responded Thursday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claims that he was “bought” by China.
Pompeo made the accusation on Tuesday during a private meeting with British lawmakers. He also criticized China, accusing them of human rights abuses and of trying to “co-opt” the international organization, CNN reported.
“You can’t go make claims for maritime regions that you have no lawful claim to. You can’t threaten countries and bully them in the Himalayas. You can’t engage in cover-ups and co-opt international institutions like the World Health Organization,” Pompeo said.
“Our sole focus and the focus of the entire organization is on saving lives,” Tedros said in response to Pompeo’s claims, according to CNN.
“If there is one thing that really matters to us and which should matter to the entire international community is saving lives. And WHO won’t be distracted by these comments and we don’t want the international community also to be distracted.”
The WHO’s director-general Dr Tedros has hit back at Mike Pompeo’s claims in London earlier this week that he was “bought” by the Chinese Government… https://t.co/wfPJ2Oj1R2
— Harry Yorke (@HarryYorke1) July 23, 2020
The back-and-forth comes as tensions have risen between the United States and the WHO. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the organization throughout the pandemic and announced July 6 that the US was formally withdrawing from it. (RELATED: G7 Leaders Join Trump In Calling For World Health Organization Crackdown)
The WHO has also come under heightened scrutiny throughout the pandemic over its alleged ties to the Chinese Communist Party. The organization has been accused of helping China cover up the initial outbreak, and in March Tedros praised China, saying that the country “has done many good things to slow down the virus.”
“I’m appealing again to all nations to work together. Politics and partisanship have made things worse. So what is very important is sign solutions and solidarity,” Tedros said, according to CNN. “But I repeat, the allegations are untrue and without any foundation.”
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