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US pledges to pay UN peacekeeping arrears

Dr. Susan Rice

Dr. Susan Rice

Reuters is reporting:

The United States is ready to hand over more than $2 billion in new and old contributions it owes the U.N. peacekeeping department, Washington’s U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, said on Wednesday.

“The United States is now in a position to clear all peacekeeping arrears accumulated from 2005 to 2008 and to meet our obligations in full for 2009 — currently estimated at approximately $2.2 billion,” Rice told a U.N. Security Council meeting on peacekeeping.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations said the 2005-2008 arrears amounted to $159 million. Revising earlier information, she said the 2005-2008 arrears were included in the total $2.2 billion owed to the U.N. peacekeeping department.

As the United Nations’ single biggest contributor, Washington is responsible for roughly one-quarter of the peacekeeping budget, which approaches $8 billion and pays for over 110,000 soldiers and police in 15 missions worldwide.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy told reporters the U.S. declaration was “extremely good news.”

“That’s extremely important and of course very different from the past. And of course that is very important for the whole peacekeeping operation,” Le Roy said.

The administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush had an uneasy relationship with the United Nations, often criticizing it as inefficient and corrupt.

President Barack Obama, who has pledged to support the United Nations and its peacekeeping operations, asked Congress in June to pay in full what Washington owed it.

Rice told the council the Obama administration was ready to keep its promises. Last week, she told lawmakers in Washington the United States was prepared to offer more military observers and police officers to U.N. missions.

Great news. I hope the pledge comes to fruition.

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One Comment

  • Anton Ryan says:

    Thanks Professsor Arend

    The Republicans have been short-changing the UN for decades.

    Ironically, their Mandate for military containment of the Taliban, came from the UNSC.

    What’s wrong with the American media!

    Anton in France

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.