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UN to spend $7.3bn on peacekeeping



UN Secretary-General, António Guterres
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

The UN has agreed on 7.3 billion dollars to fund 13 peacekeeping missions and a logistics support office, diplomats said.

The 193-member UN budget committee, cut 600 million dollars from current costs and slicing 7.5 per cent off the U.S. bill following calls by President Donald Trump to slash funding.

Washington initially proposed a peacekeeping budget of 6.99 billion dollars for the year from July 1, 2017, which would have reduced its share of the bill by more than 10 per cent to 1.99 billion dollars .

The budget is due to be adopted by the UN General Assembly on Friday, diplomats said.

The U.S. initial peacekeeping budget proposal was the lowest made of all states and regional blocs and nearly
one billion dollars less than UN chief Antonio Guterres’ suggestion.

Trump has described U.S. funding for the UN as “peanuts” compared to its “important work,” he complains its share of the peacekeeping bill, currently 28.5 per cent, is “unfair.”

In his 2018 budget proposal he requested Congress approve only 1.2 billion dollars for UN peacekeeping.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told U.S. lawmakers in Washington on Wednesday that Trump’s proposed U.S. federal budget was “making a point that he wanted to strengthen the military and it was putting the United Nations on notice.”

“I have used that as leverage … now we’re seeing a lot of the other countries come forward and say ‘yes we should do reform,’” Haley said.

“I really do think the message was effective.”

The U. S. is also reviewing each of the UN peacekeeping missions as annual mandates come up for renewal by the Security Council in a bid to cut costs.

The United States is a veto-wielding member of the council, along with Britain, France, Russia and China.

“There’s a lot of fat around the edges and some abuses that happen at the UN, but I do think it is very important that we make the most of it,” Haley said.

Washington also pays 22 per cent of the 5.4 billion dollars biennial UN core budget.

Ultimately the U.S. Congress sets the federal government budget and will decide how much money is available for UN funding.

Republicans, who control both houses, and Democrats have said they do not support drastic cuts proposed by Trump.

Trump wants to enforce a 25 per cent cap on the U.S. contribution to UN peacekeeping.

The UN General Assembly is due to negotiate in 2018 new levels of contributions by countries for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Guterres has pledged to make UN peacekeeping more efficient but has noted that the current budget to fund it is less than one half of one per cent of global military spending.

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