MidEast

U.S. Cuts Contribution to UN in Effort to Make World Body “More Efficient and Accountable”

The United States government announced on Sunday significant cuts in its United Nations obligations for 2018-19 with next year’s budget slashed by over $285m.

“We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked,” the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said in a statement, adding that the “inefficiency and overspending” of the organization was well-known, The Jerusalem Post reported.

“This historic reduction in spending – in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN – is a big step in the right direction. While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we’ll continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency‎ while protecting our interests,” Haley observed.

Under the UN charter, the U.S. is responsible for 22% of the body’s annual operating budget, or around $1.2bn in 2017-18.

The budget announcement comes days after President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to the international body ahead of a vote on a resolution condemning the U.S. for recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “We’re watching those votes,” the President said. “Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot. We don’t care. But this isn’t like it used to be where they could vote against you and then you pay them hundreds of millions of dollars and nobody knows what they’re doing.”

After the vote, Haley reminded the assembly that the U.S. was “by far the single largest contributor to the U.N.” and would remember the vote “when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations, and we will remember it when so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

Using its contribution to the world body as leverage was a “legitimate use of U.S. resources and power,” Mark Dubowitz, CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told The Washington Post. Given the number of nations that did not support the vote targeting the U.S. last week also showed that the tactic was “quite successful,” Dubowitz added. He explained, “There were 66 countries that opposed, abstained or didn’t show up for the U.N. vote on Jerusalem. Those were historic numbers. It worked. It should not be a shock the U.S. has decided to play power politics at the U.N., like all other countries.”

On Sunday, Guatemala became the first country to follow the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Guatemala’s president Jimmy Morales made the announcement via his official Facebook page.

[Photo: Neptuul / WikiCommons]