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Large US payment puts UN on sound financial footing, top UN official reports

Large US payment puts UN on sound financial footing, top UN official reports

A United States payment of over half a billion dollars to the United Nations has put the world body on its best financial footing in recent years, the Organization's top budget official said today.

"This is not a report that features doom and gloom - it's a report that features good news," Joseph Connor, the Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management, told reporters at a press briefing in New York. He said Member States were expected to contribute more to the UN in regular dues than in any prior year - amounting to $4,716 million, compared with $2,893 million last year.

The US was expected to pay $1,666 million, including $625 million paid last Friday. With legislative directives in place, "payment of sizeable amounts from the United States to the United Nations is at hand," said Mr. Connor. The UN has funds in excess of current requirements. Washington's payments include back and current dues for the UN's regular budget, peacekeeping operations and international tribunals.

Looking back on the history of the US arrears problem, which has plagued the UN over successive administrations, Mr. Connor said, "We're looking at numbers we've never looked at in a long number of years here, but basically the key element here is that there will only be relatively speaking about $600 million unpaid, as opposed to $1.9 billion that we'd been looking at." In other words, he added, "they're cutting it by two-thirds."

"You've never heard me say this," said Mr. Connor to the journalists, many of whom have attended his previous briefings on the UN's dire financial situation. "The United Nations has funds in excess of current requirements."

While welcoming these developments as a "step in the right direction," the Under-Secretary-General said the UN's financial situation was "still somewhat tenuous for an Organization that has no reserves, no capital and no borrowing capacity."