UN dismay over Capitol Hill plan to cut funding
The House version of the law was expected to be adopted last night or today. At the heart of the legislation, which was promised to voters as part of the Speaker, Newt Gingrich's "Contract with America", is a pledge to cut back US contributions to UN peace-keeping. Specifically, it would oblige the administration to deduct from its UN contributions any money it is spending unilaterally to bolster peace-keeping operations.
"The legislation is a conversation-stopper quite frankly," a senior European diplomat remarked yesterday. "I don't see how the peace-keeping arrangements could continue." Kofi Annan, the UN Under Secretary-General in charge of peace-keeping, this week broke a diplomatic silence on the subject. "It will be extremely difficult for us if the funds are not forthcoming," he said. "I hope that after the issues have been thoroughly discussed, Congress will come to the conclusion that peace-keeping must be strengthened, not weakened."
The Clinton administration has been in high-gear for several weeks to try to deflect the Republican majority from its course. Two days ago, both the Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, and the Defense Secretary, William Perry, wrote a joint article in the New York Times, suggesting the law would "effectively abrogate our treaty obligation to pay our share of peace-keeping missions agreed in the Security Council", and, "end peace- keeping overnight".
There is little optimism in New York, however, that the administration is making much headway. Some solace is taken from a pledge from the White House to veto the legislation. But it is not certain that a presidential veto would escape an override in Congress.
Especially infuriating for other countries is the notion that it is just the US that pays more for peace-keeping than is reflected in the UN books. Britain spent three times its UN-assessed contribution on peace-keeping between 1992 and 1994.
"The idea that the Americans should be weeping gently in the corner of the public bar of the pub because they are unduly disadvantaged is a load of hogwash. They are not alone," commented one official.
The cost of UN peace-keeping escalated after 1990 when the year's bill was only $270m (£174m). By last year it had reached $3.19bn. Moreover, because of a historical bias that demands that richer countries contribute disproportionately, the US was called upon last year to pay 31.7 per cent of the peace-keeping bill. Britain's share is 6.57 per cent.
Even before the Republicans took control of Capitol Hill, Congress last year passed a separate law requiring that the US share of peace-keeping costs not be allowed to exceed 25 per cent. That measure alone, scheduled to come into effect in October, will leave a hole in UN operations.
The Security Council continues to approve new peace-keeping operations; in the past month it gave the go-ahead for missions to both Haiti and Angola.
The approaching cash crisis could prompt United Nations members to jump- start negotiations to expand the permanent membership of the Security Council with an eye in particular on offering seats to Japan and Germany, the two countries considered most likely to be in a position to increase their peace-keeping contributions.
- 1 Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
- 2 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 The most powerful passports in the world
Student jailed for hacking University of Birmingham computers to improve his grades
Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Royal baby: Live updates as the wait continues for Duchess of Cambridge's second child
Hermann Goering's daughter fails to reclaim items looted by Nazi deputy during WWII
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...