World Media

Donald Trump defends USA position against worldwide breastfeeding resolution

Donald Trump defends USA position against worldwide breastfeeding resolution

The resolution had been expected to be approved "quickly and easily", the newspaper said.

The Times reported that the US delegation threatened other nations, by suggesting that the USA would implement trade measures with the goal of punishing them, citing more than a dozen participants from several of the countries present. But the USA insisted on removing language calling on the World Health Organization to offer technical support to officials trying to stop "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children", according to the Times.

When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador had planned to introduce the breast-feeding resolution, according to the Times. But the USA reportedly threatened the country with punitive trade measures and a cut to military aid if it did not drop the proposal. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.

The Times says it spoke with more than a dozen participants at the assembly from several countries.

The U.S. then continued around the table, targeting at least a dozen, mostly underdeveloped countries in Latin America and Africa, who backed off fearing retaliation, according to delegates from Mexico, Uruguay and the U.S. "What happened was tantamount to blackmail", she said. "What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn almost 40 years of consensus on the best way to protect infant and young child health".

In the end, the Americans' efforts were mostly unsuccessful. Though the US was able to get Ecuador to drop the resolution, delegates from Russian Federation later introduced it with only minor concessions made to the USA delegation's position.

The State Department would not answer the Times' questions.

Caitlin Oakley, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said it's "patently false" to portray the US position as "anti-breastfeeding".

"The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children", an HHS spokesman said in an email.

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

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, the lead agency in negotiations on the resolution, defended the US opposition to the measure, saying that it would impede women's access to vital baby formula when breastfeeding is not an option. Most of the sources requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from US officials.

Make peace great again: Brussels protests against Trump's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation visit
He will admire Trump's candor and readiness to defy norms, especially by challenging allies who are "taking advantage" of the United States.

Other wording that called for policy makers to restrict the promotion of food products that could potentially harm children also irked American delegates.

Companies that sell baby formula generate $70billion annually, but those sales have been stagnant due to the increased popularity of breastfeeding.

Trump argues his administration supports breastfeeding but also wants women to have access to formula.

During the deliberations, some American delegates even suggested the United States might cut its contribution to the World Health Organization, several negotiators said.

During the discussions, USA delegates even threatened to cut aid to WHO.

The $70 billion industry, which is dominated by a handful of American and European companies, has seen sales flatten in wealthy countries in recent years, as more women embrace breast-feeding.

Government doctors and scientists have long called attention to the health benefits of breastfeeding, both in economically advanced countries and developing nations.

"It's making everyone very nervous, because if you can't agree on health multilateralism, what kind of multilateralism can you agree on?"

The Times reported Sunday that USA officials turned to threats in an effort to throw cold water on a WHA resolution holding that breastfeeding is the healthiest option for young children and pushes countries to limit the spread of inaccurate information about breast milk substitutes.

US officials fought to remove phrases calling for governments to "protect, promote and support breastfeeding" and a section calling on lawmakers to tighten regulations on the promotion of products that experts say have harmful effects on children.

He said the United States did not directly pressure Moscow to back away from the measure. However, U.S. officials tried for two more days to use procedural methods to stymie its ultimate adoption. Some language was still changed however, including removing "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children" and adding "evidence-based" to some statements.


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