June 25, 2020 / 3:55 PM / 11 days ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-US urges Russia, China to give more aid to Venezuela in COVID fight

(Corrects spelling of envoy to Abrams not Abram)

GENEVA, June 25 (Reuters) - The United States’ Special Representative for Venezuela called on Russia and China on Thursday to provide more humanitarian aid aid to their ally Venezuela in its fight against the growing COVID-19 epidemic.

Venezuela, which has so far reported 4,048 cases of COVID-19 and 35 deaths to the World Health Organization (WHO), has jailed doctors and journalists for trying to expose the true extent of infections, Elliott Abrams added.

“We do think the numbers are tragically a good deal higher,” Abrams told a diplomatic event organised by the U.S. mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

Referring to China and Russia, he said: “We would hope that there would be both contributions from them and pressure from them on a better handling of the COVID-19 situation.

“We would like to see them contribute more on the humanitarian side. There has been, I believe, some contribution of goods with respect to COVID-19 by Russia and China.

“But the scale, the dollar amount of this aid, is really quite low in comparison to the needs,” he said.

Abrams said opposition leader Juan Guaido and his interim government would soon provide $20 million in assets to which they had access in the United States to the Pan-American Health Organisation - the WHO’s regional office - and other aid groups.

“We are nearing fruition on that plan which was slowed down by the regime, which again is desperate to assure above all that Guaido, the interim government, the National Assembly and opposition get no credit for this,” he said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay Editing by Gareth Jones

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