For the first time since 1977, the World Health Assembly had to vote in favor of Ukraine’s integration into the WHO Executive Committee in the face of Russia’s veto.
Russia suffered a setback on Friday by failing to block Ukraine’s entry into the World Health Organization (WHO) governing body, which also saw the arrival of North Korea.
The ten countries that ultimately join the Executive Committee for three-year terms are usually elected as a bloc during the 76th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
But the vote had to be held for the first time since 1977 because of Moscow’s attempt to block Ukraine from joining the 34-member forum, which plays a key role in the governance of the World Health Organization.
The result was final and the nominees nominated by each of the 6 WHO regions were elected by 123 votes to 13 abstentions.
“Health should not be politicized”
“Today’s vote marks a huge defeat for Russia, which has failed in its irresponsible attempts to undermine the authority of WHO regional groups and disrupt the work of the World Health Assembly and its Executive Board,” the Ukrainian ambassador to the UN in Geneva rejoiced. , Yevheniya Filipenko.
“Health should not be politicized. WHO should act normally. France congratulates Ukraine for being elected with 9 countries to the Executive Council despite Russia’s ban”, he welcomed the delegation. French in a tweet.
On the other hand, the representative of Russia expressed “deep regret that the Assembly voted for a country that further politicizes the work of the Working Group. We are against the politicization of the work of the World Assembly. Health and WHO as a whole”.
Regret on Washington’s part
But that wasn’t the only tough exchange of the session. The United States expressed dismay at the addition of North Korea to the Executive Committee’s 34-nation group at the proposal of the Southeast Asian region.
The US representative hit out at “the appalling record of human rights abuses by the Democratic Republic of Korea, consistently documented by the UN and widely condemned by the international community.”
He called on Pyongyang to “respect human rights, fulfill its obligations based on Security Council resolutions and practice vigorous and consistent diplomacy”.
After pledging his desire to work with all “in a spirit of cooperation and solidarity”, the Pyongyang representative’s response was harsh: “We deeply regret that a country (…) tries to abuse this forum for its own nefarious. Political purposes and push for conflict”.
In addition to Ukraine and North Korea, Australia, Barbados, Cameroon, Comoros, Lesotho, Qatar, Switzerland and Togo join the governing body.
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