US threatened nations over breastfeeding resolution

10 July, 2018, 04:12 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Ric Francis via ZUMA

President Trump disputed a New York Times report, saying that the U.S.

President Trump rejected accusations on Monday from a New York Times report that said the USA worked against a breastfeeding amendment at the World Health Assembly.

'The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out.

When U.S. efforts to water down the measure failed, the delegates reportedly threatened Ecuadorian delegates with retaliatory trade measures and said the U.S. would withdraw military aid unless the country withdrew the measure. "Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty", Trump tweeted Monday.

"What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the USA holding the world hostage and trying to overturn almost 40 years of consensus on best way to protect infant and young child health", she said. Just one portion, calling on the World Health Organization to provide support to member states seeking to halt "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children", was removed.

According to the New York Times article, the American delegation to the World Health Assembly in Geneva tried to threaten and bully poorer countries in Africa and Latin America not to introduce the resolution, which was based on decades of widely-accepted research that says mother's milk is healthiest for children and that nations should try to limit misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.

"We recognise not all women are able to breastfeed for a variety of reasons".

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A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, the lead agency in negotiations on the resolution, defended the USA opposition to the measure, saying that it would impede women's access to vital baby formula when breastfeeding is not an option.

The State Department declined the Times' request to comment and said it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations. The American negotiators were successful, however, in removing language that called on the World Health Organization to provide support to member states seeking to halt "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children", the delegate said.

These days, the United States is on the outside looking in when it comes to global consensus on many things: Climate change, the Iran deal, and breastfeeding.

American officials only agreed to the resolution in Geneva when Russian Federation threw its support behind the resolution.

'We're not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world, ' the diplomat said.

Health advocates had trouble finding another sponsor who did not fear USA "retaliation". Their sales have increased, however, in developing countries.

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