GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States will not take part in the launching of a global initiative on Friday to speed the development, production and distribution of drugs and vaccines against COVID-19, a spokesman for the U.S. mission in Geneva told Reuters.

"There will be no U.S. official participation", he said in an email reply to a query. "We look forward to learning more about this initiative in support of international cooperation to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 as soon as possible."

U.S. President Donald Trump has announced a suspension of funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), where it is the largest donor. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will help launch the global initiative on Friday, the U.N. agency said ahead of the 1300 GMT event.

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FILE PHOTO: Flags of U.S. and U.N. are seen near the UN building where heads of state and officials are attending the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 27, 2018.
Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Nick Macfie)