US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump
PIC: AFP

The Trump administration has said it won't pay more than USD 60 million in dues it owes to the World Health Organisation and will use the money instead to pay down other contributions to the United Nations.

The announcement on Wednesday came just a day after the White House announced the US would not participate in a WHO-run project to develop and distribute a COVID-19 vaccine.

The decision to withhold roughly USD 62 million in outstanding 2020 dues to the WHO is part of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the organisation over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his allegations that the agency has been improperly influenced by China.

Despite proceeding with the withdrawal, administration officials said the US will continue to participate in select WHO meetings and make one-time contributions to specific programmes during a one-year wind-down period.

Those programmes include polio eradication projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan, humanitarian relief in Libya and Syria and efforts to combat influenza.

The funding decisions follow Trump's announcement in July that he was withdrawing the US from the WHO effective July 2021 and instructing his administration to wind down funding and cooperation with the agency.

At the time of the announcement, the US had already paid about USD 52 million of its assessed 2020 dues of USD 120 million.

During the one-year wind-down, the officials said the US would continue to participate in select WHO technical and policy meetings that have a direct bearing on US health, commercial and national security interests.

"We will consider those on a case-by-case basis," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations Nerissa Cook.

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