Tags: un | ban | deadbeat

U.N. Chief Ban Tries to Backpedal on Deadbeat U.S. Gaffe

Friday, 13 Mar 2009 07:51 AM

UNITED NATIONS — After drawing a rebuke from the White House, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tried Thursday to smooth over his characterization of the U.S. as a "deadbeat" for its late payments to the world body.

"My point was simply that the United Nations needs the fullest support of its members, and never more so than in these very demanding times," Ban told reporters at U.N. headquarters

The White House objected to Ban's use of the word "deadbeat" to describe the U.S. during a private meeting Wednesday with lawmakers at the Capitol, a day after he met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Ban's "word choice was unfortunate," given that the U.S. is the largest contributor to the United Nations.

The United States pays 22 percent of the organization's nearly $5 billion operating budget but is perennially late paying its dues.

Asked whether Ban should retract his comment, Gibbs said some recognition by Ban of the U.S. role would be appropriate.

"I think given the contribution that the American taxpayer makes, I do think it would be appropriate to acknowledge that role," Gibbs told reporters at his daily briefing.

Ban visited the White House at Obama's invitation Tuesday, then made the rounds Wednesday on Capitol Hill seeking to improve relations between the United Nations and the U.S.

On Thursday, Ban called his choice of words a "misunderstanding."

"I noted how generous the United States has been in supporting the U.N., both in terms of assessed and voluntary contributions. At the same time, I noted that the United States is also the largest debtor, owing more than $1 billion in arrears, soon to reach $1.6 billion," he said.

The U.S. is behind on its payments partly because its budget runs on a different calendar than the U.N.'s, but also because Congress and previous U.S. administrations have withheld funding to try to push through U.N. reforms or because of other ideological disputes.

Obama has pledged to fix that.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the senior Republican on the House Foreign Relations Committee, said she took "great umbrage" at Ban's use of the word "deadbeat."

Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said that "those are not the words we would have chosen to encourage Congress to address this problem."

Ban drew muted support from his meetings in Congress, where members privately described him as dedicated, thoughtful and serious but generating little excitement. Some of the House and Senate leaders who met with Ban agreed with his assessment of the United States' late payments.

"Clearly they have an interest in the United States meeting its responsibility. In terms of peacekeeping, we're about $670 million behind, and I think the argument is well-stated," said Rep. Bill Delahunt, a Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee.

Ban also met with Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, who heads a House global warming panel, and Sen. John Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations chairman.

"Around the world, the United Nations is underfunded and overtasked," Kerry said, standing beside Ban and Republican Sen. Richard Lugar.

© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Mali's Islamists Withdraw Cease-Fire Pledge

Friday, 04 Jan 2013 13:06 PM

Tens of thousands of Fatah supporters rallied in the Hamas stronghold of Gaza on Friday for the first time since they we . . .

Fmr. CIA Director Hayden: Iran Nuclear Crisis Gets 'Scarier'

Tuesday, 17 Jul 2012 18:11 PM

 . . .

Join Fmr. CIA Director for Special Iran Briefing, Assess the Danger

Friday, 13 Jul 2012 12:27 PM

 . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved