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Guatemala supports Taiwan's WHA bid: envoy

2019/05/20 20:48:28

Image taken from Pixabay

Taipei, May 20 (CNA) Guatemala's ambassador to the Republic of China (Taiwan), Olga Maria Aguja Zuniga, on Monday stressed her country's support for Taiwan's World Health Assembly (WHA) bid, amid questions as to why the Central American ally did not send a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) supporting Taiwan's inclusion at the WHA, like 14 other diplomatic allies.

"The foreign policy of Guatemala has different ways of expressing its support to Taiwan," ambassador Aguja told CNA in an email in response to her country's decision not to write a letter to the WHO asking for Taipei to be invited to attend the WHA.

"Guatemala usually expresses personally its support in favor of Taiwan through its representatives in Geneva before the members of the Executive Board of the World Health Assembly," she noted.

Guatemalan health authorities or the Representatives of the Permanent Mission of Guatemala have also repeatedly expressed their recognition and appreciation for all the cooperation on health issues that Taiwan provides, in their speeches at the WHA or at WHA Executive Council meetings, she noted.

Most recently, at the last meeting of the Executive Board of the WHA held in January, a Guatemalan representative expressed the country's support and gratitude for the work carried out by Taiwan in Guatemala, she stressed.

Aguja was referring to comments made by Luis Erick Gudiel Pineda, the first secretary of Guatemala's mission in Geneva, in his Jan. 28 address at the 144th Executive Board session of the WHA.

In his address, the Guatemalan diplomat thanked Taiwan for its assistance to his country on maternal health care and pharmaceutical product promotion, which helped beef up its medical care system and emergency medical response capabilities.

A total of 14 of Taiwan's 17 diplomatic allies have sent letters to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus over the past few days, asking that the issue of Taiwan's exclusion from the WHA be placed on the agenda for discussion during the 72nd WHA session in Geneva, which is scheduled for May 20-28.

However, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Vatican did not send letters.

Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in Europe, the Holy See, is not a member of the WHO, but an observer and rarely speaks on political issues during the WHA.

The Nicaraguan ambassador to the ROC William Tapia did not reply to CNA's inquiry on the same issue as of press time Monday.

(By Joseph Yeh)