General Assembly approves $4.17 billion UN budget despite US objections

The General Assembly approved a two-year UN budget of $4.17 billion (€2.9 billion) Saturday with the United States casting the only "no" vote. The 142-1 vote in the 192-member world body climaxed weeks of discussions and an all-night session that failed to reach consensus because of US objections that the budget included $6.7 million (€4.66 million) for a follow-up to the 2001 World Conference Against Racism which the US considered to be anti-Israeli. The budget is traditionally approved by consensus but the United States demanded a vote in the General Assembly's budget committee late Friday night because of the insistence of key developing nations that the anti-racism conference be funded from the regular UN budget rather than by voluntary contributions. In the budget committee balloting, the financial blueprint was approved 141-1 with only the United States opposing it.