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UN Warns Washington on Nonpayment

UN Warns Washington on Nonpayment 

 UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The United States is close to losing its U.N.
 voting rights in the General Assembly if it does not pay a major part of the
 $1.3 billion it owes the organization, the chief U.N. financial officer said

 Secretary-General Kofi Annan is expected to raise the issue with President
 Clinton and other U.S. officials when he visits Washington on Wednesday. 


 Losing voting rights would cost the United States considerable influence in the
 world organization at a time when Washington is relying on it to determine if
 Iraq has destroyed its weapons of mass destruction. 

 In a briefing for reporters, the chief U.N. financial officer, Joseph Connor,
 noted that the U.N. Charter says member states lose their voting rights ``if the
 amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due
 from it for the preceeding two full years.'' 

 ``The United States is approaching that time,'' Connor said. ``The amount of
 money due from the United States ... is more than they paid last year.'' 

 Connor, an American and former chief executive officer of Price-Waterhouse,
 refused to disclose just how close Washington was to losing its voting rights. 

 But he said he had given the figures to the United States. 

 The United States is now assessed 25 percent of the U.N.'s annual budget.
 Congress has held up payments for years to demand reduction in U.S.
 payments and streamlining in the world organization. 

 Last year, the Senate approved a Clinton administration plan to pay more than
 $800 million in arrears. But the proposal was derailed in the House of
 Representatives when Clinton refused to accept amendments to outlaw funds
 for abortion. 

 ``The amounts are very large ... The need is getting more and more crucial and
 time is running out,'' Connor said. 


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