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Donald Trump blasts UN for its $230 million budget deficit
11:39 pm GMT+12, 09/10/2019, United States

Donald Trump blasted the United Nations on Wednesday for what he suggested was a lax attitude toward collecting member nations' dues, apparently unaware that the United States is delinquent in its own payments to the UN General Assembly.

The U.S. paid for about 22 per cent of all the UN's expenses in 2017, the most recent year for which complete statistics are available. And the General Assembly – known to diplomats as UNGA – is just one part of the whole.

But while microstates like Tuvalu and poverty-stricken nations like Sierra Leone and Syria have paid what the organisation considers their fair share, America is the only one of the G7 nations that hasn't written a check in 2019.

So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States!' Trump groused on Twitter.

UNGA's website reports that 'as of 7 October 2019, 129 Member States' out of 193 'have paid their regular budget assessments in full.' The other one-third have not.

A State Department official told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that the U.S. will make its dues payments sometime 'in the fall,' but did not explain the delay. Congress appropriated the money in January.

The U.S. owes the UN as much as $674 million for the overall regular budget this year, the U.S. mission to the UN confirmed Wednesday. 

Secretary-General António Guterres said Tuesday that the global organisation, based in New York City, is facing a severe cash shortage and 'our work and our reforms are at risk' unless more countries pay up.

Trump has complained in the past that the UN is a wasteful white elephant that sponges off wealthy countries for activities -- like climate change initiatives -- that make the U.S. less competitive.

The White House succeeded in getting Congress to impose a cap for this year on U.S. funding of UN military peacekeeping operations, down from 27.9 per cent to 25 per cent. 

Washington is still $381 million behind in its dues for past years. The State Department official suggested that's a result of the 25 per cent cap.

Not including peacekeeping costs, the organisation's budget for 2018-2019 is nearly $5.4 billion. The U.S. will ultimately pay 22 per cent of that.

'Overall the United States, as the largest contributor to the UN, contributes roughly $10 billion annually in assessed and voluntary contributions across the United Nations system,' said the State Department.

And the Trump administration 'has been very clear on its position that no one member state should pay more than one-quarter of the organisation’s budget.'

Guterres said the UN might 'face a default on salaries and payments for goods and services by the end of November' and has already rationed travel budgets.

SOURCE: DAILY MAIL ONLINE/PACNEWS


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