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WHO's Tedros wins German backing for second term

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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a news conference organized by Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva Switzerland July 3, 2020. Fabrice Coffrini/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

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BERLIN, Sept 21 (Reuters) - German Health Minister Jens Spahn backed a second term for World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and called on other countries to support the former Ethiopian health minister ahead of a deadline this week.

"We invite partner countries to join us nominating DG (Director General) Tedros," Spahn told Reuters. The support is significant as Germany is a major financial backer of the WHO.

Last week, sources told Reuters that Tedros looks set to run unopposed for a second term at the helm of the WHO as it tries to guide the world through its biggest health crisis in a century, even though he lacks the support of Ethiopia due to friction over the Tigray conflict.

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He has steered the agency through several Ebola outbreaks as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, surviving savage criticism from the Trump administration for allegedly being "China-centric".

Those criticisms were echoed in a Wall Street Journal editorial on Tuesday arguing against a second term.

"The White House is committing diplomatic malpractice by not working with allies and partners to back a credible alternative," the newspaper wrote.

The WHO had no immediate comment on the issue.

While Tedros has not publicly acknowledged his plans to run again for a second five-year term, saying he was focusing on fighting the pandemic, four sources said he is the only known candidate.

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Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Emma Thomasson and Keith Weir; Editing by Kirsti Knolle and Alison Williams

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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