Lebanon says it will pay UN dues 'immediately' after losing voting rights

Lebanon, Venezuela, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Dominica had lost their voting rights due to dues they owe the UN.

 United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres gestures as he talks with Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut, Lebanon December 20, 2021 (photo credit: DALATI NOHRA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres gestures as he talks with Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Beirut, Lebanon December 20, 2021
(photo credit: DALATI NOHRA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Lebanon's Foreign Ministry stated Friday that it would make the final payment of its dues to the United Nations "immediately" in response to reports that it had lost its voting rights at the General Assembly due to unpaid contributions.

"The Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Ministry would like to clarify that all the payment stages of the required amount have been completed. After the necessary contacts with both the Lebanese prime minister and finance minister, it has been confirmed that the final payment process will take place immediately in a manner that preserves Lebanon's rights in the United Nations."

Lebanon one of six countries to lose voting rights

On Thursday, Lebanese media and the Associated Press reported that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had announced that Lebanon, Venezuela, South Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Dominica had lost their voting rights in the General Assembly due to missing contributions they owe the UN.

 View of the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City, US, January 16, 2023. (credit: ARIE LEB ABRAMS/FLASH90) View of the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York City, US, January 16, 2023. (credit: ARIE LEB ABRAMS/FLASH90)

Under Article 19 of the UN Charter, a member state who is behind in contributions equaling or exceeding the amount due for the two preceding years can lose their vote in the General Assembly, although the UN can make exceptions if the failure to pay is beyond the country's control.

According to the reports, Lebanon owes $1,835,303. The Middle Eastern country is in an escalating political and economic crisis. Lebanon's parliament has failed to elect a president since former president Michel Aoun completed his term in October. According to a Human Rights Watch report published in December, nearly 70% of Lebanese households said they had difficulty making ends meet or were always behind on basic expenses.