Monthly Archives: June 2005
Key Points to Remember about UN Reform Act of 2005:
- Would automatically stop payment of our annual dues to the United Nations
- At the inception of the United Nations, the U.S. made a legally binding promise to pay our share of UN dues.
- The U.S. is the biggest financial contributor to the United Nations, paying about 22 percent of the annual $2 billion general budget. Withholding dues would be a major roadblock to important UN reform programs.
- Bush Administration officials have voiced opposition to this legislation (see below)
If passed, the UN Reform Act of 2005 would:
- Break our promise to other nations of the world and to the UN.
- Limit the ability of our diplomats to achieve changes within the UN because it would undercut U.S. credibility.
- Lead to a huge debt to the UN and inhibit our ability to lead within the institution.
If passed, the UN Reform Act of 2005 would endanger UN peacekeeping efforts by:
- Reinstating a 25 percent cap on U.S. contributions to UN peacekeeping missions despite the fact that Congress has voted since 2001 to pay our currently assessed share, which is now at 27.1 percent.
- Instituting a shortfall in funds needed to sustain troops on the ground
- Jeopardizing the newly authorized peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan.
“Eight former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations sent a letter on Tuesday urging congressional leaders to reject a bill that would link reform of the world body to payment of American dues, warning that the legislation could actually strengthen opponents of reform.” More…
The Brookings Institution, June 14, 2005
Ann Florini, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies
“The extraordinary energy Congress has put into the fight over whether John Bolton should become the US ambassador to the United Nations may be wasted if a bill now before the House becomes law. The UN Reform Act of 2005, drafted by House International Relations Committee chair Henry Hyde, could ensure that neither Bolton nor any other US ambassador could do much to make the UN an effective instrument for US interests.” Read the Editorial
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Chrenkoff: “United Nations World Food Program reports that “a total of 19,196 mt of commodities (including High Energy Biscuits, wheat flour, vegetable oil and pea/wheat blend) have thus far been dispatched into Iraq under WFP’s current emergency operation.”
Daily Kos: “US to Iraq: Listen to the UN – The Bush administration, seeking to close the continuing rift between Shiite and dissident Sunni Arab leaders in Iraq, is enlisting Europe, the Arab world and the United Nations to pressure the Baghdad government to include minorities in the political process, administration and other diplomats say.”
Charging RINO: “In order to make the United Nations an effective international institution as we move forward, this country must provide strong leadership and push for meaningful changes in the organization that will result in a more efficient, more useful, and more streamlined international response to events around the world.”
Scrivener’s Error: “According to today’s NYT, a Congressionally mandated panel will report this week that the United Nations suffers from poor management, “dismal” staff morale and lack of accountability and professional ethics but will acknowledge the broad changes proposed for the organization by Secretary General Kofi Annan and urge the United States to support them.”
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
“Charity now begins at your home computer. A new on-line video game that shows players how helping starving people can be exciting has attracted more than one million downloads from China to Canada.
The free game, Food Force, puts players behind the wheel of a United Nations food truck navigating its way through minefields or at the back of an airplane unloading food sacks in gusty conditions. The stakes are high — if you make mistakes, starving people will die.” Link
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.