US weighs cuts to fund­ing for ‘bad deal’ UN

Kuwait Times - - International -

UNITED NA­TIONS: The United States is seek­ing to re­duce its fund­ing for the United Na­tions, US Am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley said Fri­day, stress­ing that mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism had, at times, been a “bad deal” for Amer­i­cans. By far the UN’s largest fi­nan­cial backer, the United States pro­vides for 20 per­cent of the op­er­at­ing bud­get, 25 per­cent of the sep­a­rate peace­keep­ing costs and con­trib­utes ma­jor fund­ing to UN agen­cies.

Ha­ley told a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil de­bate on de­fend­ing mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism that US tax­pay­ers were ques­tion­ing whether the fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tion to the United Na­tions was worth it. “There are times when we are tempted to be­lieve that mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism has been a bad deal for the United States, that we could be more ef­fec­tive ad­vanc­ing our prin­ci­ples and in­ter­ests on our own,” Ha­ley said.

“And there are times when that con­clu­sion is cor­rect.” Ha­ley, who is set to leave her post at the end of the year, said US “aid dol­lars shouldn’t be on au­topi­lot” and stressed the need to con­sider ways of “re-bal­anc­ing how we fi­nance the United Na­tions and our peace­keep­ing op­er­a­tions.” The UN’s 193 mem­ber­states are be­gin­ning ne­go­ti­a­tions on the peace­keep­ing bud­get, which last year was cut un­der US pres­sure by $600 mil­lion to a to­tal of $6.7 bil­lion.

Ha­ley said that at 25 per­cent, the US share of the peace­keep­ing bud­get was “dis­pro­por­tion­ate,” and called for new bur­den-shar­ing in ne­go­ti­a­tions set to wrap up in De­cem­ber. “This is not just a ques­tion of fair­ness. It is a ques­tion of the on­go­ing suc­cess of mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism it­self,” she warned. Peace­keep­ing fi­nanc­ing is de­ter­mined by a com­pli­cated for­mula that takes into ac­count a coun­try’s wealth, its stand­ing as a per­ma­nent Se­cu­rity Coun­cil mem­ber and other fac­tors. China’s strong econ­omy has meant that its share of the peace­keep­ing bud­get has grown sig­nif­i­cantly to reach 15 per­cent, but other per­ma­nent coun­cil mem­bers, such as Rus­sia, pay less than five per­cent. — AFP

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