UN warns against abrupt US funding cuts

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned against an abrupt cut to US funding for the world body, and France’s UN envoy said a retreat by Washington from global affairs could lead to more instability.

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“Abrupt funding cuts can force the adoption of ad hoc measures that will undermine the impact of longer-term reform efforts,” said Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

“The Secretary-General fully subscribes to the necessity to effectively combat terrorism, but believes that it requires more than military spending,” he said in response to Trump’s proposal for an additional $54 billion in military spending.

French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre said a strong United Nations and a US commitment to world affairs is needed “more than ever”.

“America’s retreat and unilateralism, or even the perception of it by other players, would create the risk of coming back to the old spheres of influence policy, and history teaches us that it has only led to more instability,” Delattre said.

“In foreign policy, as in politics, perception matters,” he said.

US President Donald Trump has proposed a 28 per cent budget cut for diplomacy and foreign aid, which includes an unspecified reduction in financial support for the United Nations and its agencies, as well as enforcement of a 25 per cent cap on funding for peacekeeping operations.

“In many areas, the UN spends more money than it should, and in many ways it places a much larger financial burden on the United States than on other countries,” US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a statement.

The United States is the biggest contributor to the United Nations, paying 22 per cent of the $5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 per cent of the $7.9 billion peacekeeping budget. These are assessed contributions agreed by the UN General Assembly.