Photo taken on Jan. 22, 2020 shows an exterior view of the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO on Wednesday night extended to Thursday its emergency talks on whether the novel coronavirus outbreak in China constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). (Xinhua/Liu Qu)

dpa/GNA – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the United States will meet its obligations to the World Health Organization (WHO) by paying it more than 200 million dollars by the end of the month.

“This is a key step forward in fulfilling our financial obligations as a WHO member, and it reflects our renewed commitment to ensuring the WHO has the support it needs to lead the global response to the pandemic,” Blinken said at a UN Security Council meeting.

US President Joe Biden halted his country’s withdrawal from the WHO within hours of his inauguration last month.

The exit had been set in motion by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, last year and would have become official in July.

A US exit from the WHO would have meant the loss of the Geneva-based agency’s biggest financial contributor. Washington has been providing between 400 million and 500 million dollars a year to the WHO budget of nearly 3 billion dollars.

The United States also recently announced it would join the United Nation’s Covax programme to share Covid-19 vaccines fairly between richer and poorer countries.

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