United Nations warns of repercussions if US cuts funds

RSTV Bureau
File photo of UN chief Antonio Guterres. (PTI/AP)

File photo of UN chief Antonio Guterres. (PTI/AP)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned against an abrupt cut in US funding to the world agency. Guterres said a cut by the biggest contributor will affect UN’s long-term reform efforts.

Guterres’s comments came after US President Donald Trump proposed a budget cut for diplomacy and foreign aid.

The United States is the biggest contributor to the United Nations, paying 22 per cent of the USD 5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 per cent of the USD 7.9 billion peacekeeping budget.

“Abrupt funding cuts can force the adoption of ad hoc measures that will undermine the impact of longer-term reform efforts,” Guterres’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Dujarric added that the UN chief had seen the blueprint of the 2018 budget released by the White House and stands ready to discuss with the US and any other member state how best to create a more cost-effective Organisation to pursue shared goals and values.

Trump unveiled a 1.1 trillion dollar budget that proposes cutting foreign aid by 28 per cent. Military spending would increase by USD 54 billion, a 10 per cent rise, in 2018, in addition to a USD 30 billion increase in the current year.

Guterres explained that increasing military spending alone will not be enough to combat terrorism and countries will have to address the underlying reasons behind terrorism by investing in conflict resolution and countering violent extremism.

“The Secretary-General fully subscribes to the necessity to effectively combat terrorism, but believes that it requires more than military spending,” Dujarric said.

“There is also a need to address the underlying drivers of terrorism through continuing investments in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, countering violent extremism, peacekeeping, peacebuilding, sustainable and inclusive development, enhancement and respect for human rights, and timely responses to humanitarian crises,” Dujarric added.

Earlier, US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley had said, in many areas the UN spends “more money than it should” and in many ways it places a much larger financial burden on the United States than on other countries.

She also said she would work with Members of the US Congress to craft a budget that advances US interests at the UN while working with her UN colleagues to make the organisation more effective and efficient.

(With inputs from agencies)

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