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WHO’s Tedros appears like shoo-in for second time period regardless of dealing with of COVID-19, closeness to China

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The Ethiopian head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, appears set to serve a second time period as director-general following reviews that no nation will problem him regardless of his controversial dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic and shut relationship to China.

Observers say that if the U.S. does not put up a challenger, it has misplaced a serious alternative for wielding affect over the vital worldwide physique. 

President Biden re-engaged with the WHO early in his presidency following the Trump administration’s announcement that it will be terminating the U.S. relationship with the group.  On the time, Trump cited the WHO’s dealing with of the pandemic, its purported pro-China bias and subsequent failure to enact reforms.

FILE – On this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photograph, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director Basic of the World Well being Group speaks throughout a information convention, on the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone through AP, file)

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Whereas the State Department wouldn’t verify or deny if the U.S. was supporting Tedros, Dr. Anthony Fauci mentioned on the time of the administration’s rejoining the group in January that Tedros was his “pricey buddy.” Tedros has reportedly referred to Fauci as “my brother Tony.”

Fox Information has realized that 17 nations from the European Union, together with France and Germany, not too long ago nominated Tedros for a second time period. 

He was additionally reportedly backed by Kenya since his dwelling nation of Ethiopia was unwilling to offer him its blessing on account of accusations of him taking sides towards the sitting authorities as the specter of civil struggle escalates. Tedros, who just isn’t a medical physician, had beforehand served because the Ethiopian well being and overseas minister.

A State Division spokesman in an electronic mail to Fox Information mentioned “the interval for nominations by Member States closed on Sept. 23. We look ahead to receiving the formal discover by the WHO after the final Regional Committee close to the top of October. The Administration is dedicated to strengthening and reforming the WHO to make sure it may possibly ship on its important international mission to advance international well being and well being safety, together with stopping and responding to future well being emergencies.”


The USA is the single-biggest contributor to the WHO, spending roughly $2 billion during the last 5 years. The U.S. funds 22% of the group’s finances, whereas China picks up virtually half of the tab.

Hugh Dugan, who was the senior director for worldwide group affairs on the Nationwide Safety Council in the course of the Trump administration and had briefed the Biden administration on the WHO in the course of the transition, expressed his concern that wanted reforms might fall by the wayside .

“In standing for an additional 5 years as WHO chief, Tedros was due a White Home grilling over COVID-19.  However Biden forgot to grab that chance for improved accountability and transparency regarding Wuhan,” Dugan mentioned. “As an alternative, he rubber-stamped Tedros like a mildly overdue library guide. The established order ought to have been a standing no, and solely the USA has the heft to name out China’s man. However Biden’s workforce … continued to point out little curiosity in creating leverage for wanted change at WHO’s helm.”

Craig Singleton, adjunct fellow on the Basis for the Protection of Democracies, instructed Fox Information the Biden administration missed a possibility. “The Biden administration’s failure to place ahead a professional candidate stands in stark distinction to its acknowledged want to each meaningfully reform the WHO and rehabilitate the beleaguered well being physique’s international standing.”

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2020, file photo, Tedros Adhanom, director general of the World Health Organization, left, shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (Naohiko Hatta/Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE – On this Jan. 28, 2020, file photograph, Tedros Adhanom, director common of the World Well being Group, left, shakes arms with Chinese language President Xi Jinping earlier than a gathering on the Nice Corridor of the Individuals in Beijing. (Naohiko Hatta/Pool Photograph through AP, File)


Singleton continued, “There may be now broad recognition inside each political and scientific circles that the WHO’s preliminary findings relating to COVID-19’s origins strains credulity. In response to mounting public stress, Tedros has been pressured to acknowledge what has been identified because the pandemic’s outset – China’s refusal to collaborate with the worldwide group is the one factor that stands in the way in which of the world actually discovering out the place and the way this pandemic started.”

Singleton, a former U.S. official with experience on China and worldwide organizations, shared issues over Tedros’ perceived China bias. 

“There may be little doubt that Tedros lacks credibility, not solely as a result of he allowed Beijing to undermine the investigation into COVID-19’s origins, but in addition as a result of numerous severe scandals have occurred on his watch.” he mentioned. “These embody reviews about sexual assault allegations involving WHO workers in his interior circle, in addition to a latest audit which revealed that the WHO spent tens of millions of donor {dollars} procuring defective Chinese language PPE in the course of the peak of the pandemic.”  

He famous that there’s scant proof that “his affinity for China has lessened because the pandemic’s outset. That is unsurprising given Tedros’ historical past of championing Beijing’s pursuits, first as Ethiopia’s well being minister and later as overseas minister.”


Singleton mentioned a overview of United Nations information revealed that Chinese language help contributions to Tedros’ native Ethiopia considerably elevated when he was in prime management positions. 

The identical goes for China’s contributions to the WHO after Tedros’ election in 2017, one preceded by intense Chinese language lobbying on Tedros’ behalf, in response to Singleton. Tedros’ Chinese language ties additionally embody hyperlinks to Xi’s spouse, Peng Liyuan, who serves as a WHO Goodwill Ambassador.

A diplomat with data of the interior workings on the group who requested to stay nameless instructed Fox that the WHO is deeply troubled beneath Tedros. 

The diplomat noticed that the WHO was “solely centered on selling his private political agenda. He isn’t a scientist, and his rule is authoritarian and patriarchal. With repeated mishaps on scientific steerage … WHO has misplaced all credibility.”

A spokesman for the WHO wouldn’t verify if Tedros was the one candidate and didn’t reply to follow-up questions relating to criticism of Tedros. 

Earlier this yr, Tedros wouldn’t talk about whether or not he was working for a second time period, saying he was concentrating on combating the pandemic.


Hugh Dugan, who suggested 11 U.S. ambassadors to the U.N,. mentioned Tedros must overtly encourage Taiwan’s membership to WHO, a transfer that may assist present the world that China doesn’t management the group.

“The quickest path to WHO rehab could be for Tedros and accountable states to have invited Taiwanese membership within the group. This might have dispelled the existence of Chinese language management of Tedros’ entrance workplace,” Dugan mentioned. 

The total record of candidates for director-general needs to be unveiled on the finish of October, and whereas Tedros has not acknowledged publicly he’s working, his second time period appears all however sure.

Fox Information’ Adam Shaw and the Related Press contributed to this text. 

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