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Lavrov Denounces U.S. and Western Attempt To Slap Sanctions on China over COVID-19 Allegations

May 16, 2020 (EIRNS)—In an interview yesterday with the RBC media group, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced the idea of slamming sanctions on China over COVID-19. He was responding to the question: “Whose side is Russia on, and why, in the conflict between the U.S. and China over possible contradictory data on the emergence and spread of the coronavirus?”

Lavrov replied, according to TASS: “There is the need to find the specific causes of the emergence of this virus and understand why the process of its person-to-person transmission has begun and so on,” Lavrov said. “Eventually, this will be important for developing an antidote and will help secure ourselves against this threat, instead of talking that the virus emerged on a marketplace in China and that is why it is necessary to impose sanctions against that country.”

“Everybody learned about what’s happening there back in late December, when they made sure that this is indeed an epidemic. In January, specialists were already engaged in talks about it, particularly under the WHO [World Health Organization] auspices. In early February, WHO experts visited Wuhan and, by the way, one Russian specialist was among them,”

the minister emphasized. “Therefore, to say that the Chinese were shutting out WHO or that WHO was not aware or was aware but covered up certain information is at least wrong.”

In this context, he harshly countered the assertion that the WHO collaborated with China to cover-up the seriousness of the virus, pointing out the majority of WHO Secretariat employees are representatives of the countries that are now criticizing the organization the most.

“The United States, France, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Australia, Portugal, and the United Kingdom make up more than 30% of the WHO Secretariat, the category of specialists who professionally address epidemics and work with health care in general. Moreover, most Western countries have specialists in the WHO Secretariat in numbers that far outweigh the average quota which these Western states are supposed to have: Western states account for one-third from roughly 2,100 specialists. Italy, Canada, and Australia have 60 people, China has fewer than 40. Russia has 20. I’m sure you’ll agree that if China or some other non-Western country had a malicious plan to abuse WHO to advance their selfish and closed interests, how can a group of 40 people do that if it is faced with more than 700 Western specialists, united by ally obligations as part of NATO and the European Union?”

“Therefore, I would now concentrate on helping experts, helping professionals to come up with an antidote, rather than try to win some geopolitical, electoral or other advantages,” Lavrov concluded.

The full translated interview, in which this is the last question, is posted on the Foreign Ministry’s website.

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