US to make at least $285m cut to UN budget after vote on Jerusalem

The US is responsible for 22% of the UN’s annual operating budget

 Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, votes at the United Nations security council. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, votes at the United Nations security council. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

 

The US government has announced significant cuts in its United Nations budget obligations for 2018-2019 in what will be interpreted as a further ratcheting up of pressure from the Trump administration looking to bend decision-making at the international body to its will.

In a statement released over the holiday, the US Mission to the United Nations said next year’s budget would be slashed by over $285 million and unspecified reductions would also be made to the UN’s management and support functions.

The announcement didn’t make clear the entire amount of the budget or specify what effect the cut would have on the US contribution.

“We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of,” US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said in a statement. Haley added that the “inefficiency and overspending” of the organisation is well-known.

Under the UN charter, the US is responsible for 22 per cent of the the body’s annual operating budget, or around $1.2bn in 2017-2018, and 28.5 per cent of the cost of peacekeeping operations, estimated at $6.8bn over the same period.

In her statement, Haley said she was pleased with the results of budget negotiations, and the US Mission would continue to “look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency while protecting our interests”.

But the timing of the announcement sends a clear message. Last Thursday, the General Assembly voted 128-9 in favour of a resolution condemning the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. – Guardian News and Media/Associated Press