THE United Nations may face deep financial crisis if the United States, the largest donor, holds back its contributions to the world body. The US ambassador to the UN John Bolton has threatened that American financial support to the world body would cease unless the UN budget incorporates expenses for its the overall reforms. An UN official said, 'it is a very serious situation'. The usual two-year budget of the UN is set for approval by the 191-member general assembly by the end of this month. The US is insisting on approving an interim budget for three or four months until the reforms are adopted. The UN budget for two years is about $3.9 billion.
The tussle is between the majority of the small countries who favour general assembly retaining its power and stiffly opposes the US move to bolster the power of the office of the secretary-general. The small countries fear that the US move -- if adopted -- would make the general assembly impotent and totally stiffle the voice of the small nations.
The reforms package supported by US include elimination of outdated missions, overhauling of management, creation of a permanent peace building commission and creation of a new human rights council supplanting the now disgraced human rights commission. Bolton has also threatened that if US proposals are not adopted, it would seek settlement of international problems outside the UN.
The UN official said a stop-gap budget would leave the world body with a deficit of $320 million in the first quarter of 2006. The interim budget presents the grim prospect of UN cuttings expenses on travel, freeze recruitment, delay payments of salaries , stop procuring new equipment and shifting money from the peacekeeping budget. But all these will not cover the gap if an interim budget as proposed by the USA is adopted.
Secretary-General Kofi Anan who supports the reforms package is, however, against the stop-gap arrangement. He said a supplementary budget could be passed to meet the expenses for the reforms.
Britain, a staunch US ally, said it does not endorse the American plan
and it with other members of EU will push for the passage of the normal UN budget. Japan, another major contributor to UN fund, does not stand behind the US move. Japan is seeking permanent membership of the UN security council and would need US support. Japan is in favour of passing the entire budget for two years. The New York Times (NYT) calls US move as a muscular diplomacy.