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US

U.N. tells U.S. to pay up or lose General Assembly vote

graphic

Restrictions sought on family planning

October 5, 1999
Web posted at: 8:04 p.m. EDT (0004 GMT)

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The United States must pay $550 million of the $1.7 billion it owes in back dues to the United Nations by the end of 1999 to avoid losing its vote in the General Assembly, a senior U.N. official said Tuesday.

Of that amount, $200 million has already been appropriated by Congress but not received yet by the United Nations. The U.N. undersecretary for management, Joseph Connor, said legislation is needed to approve the additional $350 million in arrears in addition to actually sending the $200 million already approved.

"There's no check in the mail because there's no law on the books," Connor said. "We are running a global organization without the predictable support of its members."

The U.S. share of the amount of money owed by U.N. members amounts to about 65 percent of the U.N. budget.

Some members of Congress, led by Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey), want to include restrictive language on aid to private family planning organizations in any bill authorizing payment of the back dues.

Peacekeeping operations suffer

Of all the U.N. operations, the budget shortfall has most acutely affected peacekeeping operations. The United Nations had allotted $900 million for peacekeeping in 1999, but it had to reduce that amount to $650 million when members did not come up with adequate funds for the missions.

"While new missions mean increased peacekeeping activity, they don't necessarily translate into higher levels of cash," Connor said.

Earlier, Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the U.N. budget committee that with $2.15 billion in total unpaid dues by member states, "We cannot rationally manage the United Nations."

"This is an unacceptable burden on countries, often developing nations," that have contributed to peacekeeping operations around the world, Annan said.



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