US lawmaker links UN funding to Palestinian issue

By REUTERS
August 31, 2011 00:50

 
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WASHINGTON - A senior US Republican lawmaker announced on Tuesday she was seeking to cut off US funds to any United Nations organization that embraces an upgrade to the Palestinians' diplomatic status this autumn.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen included the cutoff clause in legislation that would change US financing of the United Nations so that Washington could choose the programs it wants to fund there, and the ones it does not.

The conservative chairwoman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, who is a staunch supporter of Israel, included the provision opposing Palestinian UN membership to try to head off Palestinian plans to seek the world body's endorsement of statehood when the General Assembly convenes next month.

"My bill ... seeks to stop this dangerous scheme in its tracks," she said in a statement.

The United States is the biggest contributor to the UN budget under a system of mandatory contributions from member states. Washington pays about 22 percent of the core UN budget and 25 percent of its peacekeeping costs.

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