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Sunday, December 23, 2007

UN approves $4.17 billion 2-year budget over US objections

The UN General Assembly approved a 2-year $4.17 billion budget over US objections on Saturday. The vote was 142-1 (I don't know why Israel apparently did not vote). I wonder if they still expect the US to pay 22% of the budget.
The 142-1 vote in the 192-member world body climaxed weeks of discussions and an all-night session that failed to reach consensus because of US objections that the budget included $6.7 million (€4.66 million) for a follow-up to the 2001 World Conference Against Racism which the US considered to be anti-Israeli.

The budget is traditionally approved by consensus but the United States demanded a vote in the General Assembly's budget committee late Friday night because of the insistence of key developing nations that the anti-racism conference be funded from the regular UN budget rather than by voluntary contributions.

In the budget committee balloting, the financial blueprint was approved 141-1 with only the United States opposing it.


US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said the insistence of some members of the Group of 77, which represents 132 mainly developing countries and China, to fund a follow-up conference from the UN's regular budget made it impossible for the United States to support the overall budget proposal.

The United States and Israel walked out of the September 2001 conference in Durban, South Africa, because of attacks on the Jewish state. The European Union nearly walked out but stayed until the end.

Several months later, Israel's then deputy foreign minister, Michael Melchior, said the Durban conference "hosted the most racist speeches and proposals to be heard in an international forum since World War II." He added that "the conference became the mouthpiece for a new and venal form of anti-Semitism."


The United States, which pays 22 percent of the UN's regular budget, made "a lot of progress" in bringing it down to $4,171,359,700 (€2,900,806,467), Khalilzad said.

The US also succeeded in getting the committee to extend the Procurement Task Force, which has been pursuing fraud and corruption in UN purchasing, for a year rather than six months, he said.

"If we had achieved our goal with Durban, then the prospect of our joining the consensus would have been excellent," Khalilzad said.
Here's a link to a US House resolution opposing the budget. I wonder why Israel didn't vote against. Maybe (Israel's ambassador to the UN) Danny Gillerman became a Sabbath observer?


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