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US denounces discounts for wealthy nations for UN peacekeeping

President Donald Trump announced in September that Washington would pay no more than 25% for Blue Helmet operations.

New York

THE United States on Saturday denounced at the United Nations a system of discounts for the peacekeeping assessments of wealthy nations, and confirmed that Washington will pay no more than 25 per cent.

The comments came a day after UN member states failed to reach a deal to make up for a US$220 million budget black hole left by Washington's downsizing of its peacekeeping contributions.

The discounts demonstrate an "urgent need to reform", said Cherith Norman Chalet, the US Ambassador for UN Management and Reform, referring to countries whose "per capita income is more than twice the average of the organisation's membership". She did not identify those countries.

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Her comments came during the adoption of a resolution renewing until 2021 contributions to the UN operating budget, which is US$5.4 billion for 2018-19, and to the peacekeeping budget of US$6.6 billion annually.

The US is the largest contributor, whose share is 22 per cent of the operating budget and 28 per cent for peacekeeping. President Donald Trump announced in September, however, that Washington would pay no more than 25 per cent for Blue Helmet operations.

Washington has been trying to convince several countries to reduce their discounts in order to cover the US$220 million annually which Washington no longer wants to pay.

Peacekeeping financing is determined by a complicated formula that takes into account a country's wealth, its standing as a permanent Security Council member and other factors.

"These discounts are without justification and have no basis in any methodology and should be eliminated," Ms Chalet said. "Nearly half of member states receive an 80 per cent discount to their assessments on the peacekeeping scale."

Diplomats said that, in their quest for a better sharing of the financial burden, the US had approached Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Singapore, Brunei, Brazil, Mexico and India. Those efforts were in vain.

Ambassador Nikki Haley, who leaves her post on Dec 31, could have been involved in the battle but surprisingly abandoned it, a diplomat said. Overnight Thursday-Friday Washington finally joined a consensus to maintain the status quo on key budget issues for another three years, diplomats said, meaning the UN's financial shortfall will continue to grow. AFP