Tags: Congress | Considers | Revenge | Hypocritical | U.N.

Congress Considers Revenge on Hypocritical U.N.

Tuesday, 08 May 2001 12:00 AM

The House is likely to consider an amendment today that would halt the back payments in two years unless the United States is welcomed back to the commission.

Proponents predict that the bipartisan amendment drafted by House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., and Ranking Member Tom Lantos, D-Calif., will pass.

"The vote to exclude the United States from the UNHRC last week was outrageous and only damaged the institution and undermined the cause of human rights worldwide," Lantos said.

Proponents said the move represents a compromise to soothe conservative Republicans angered by the vote and eager to cancel the payments.

Hyde and Lantos plan to offer the amendment to a bill authorizing State Department activities, which is expected to reach the House floor today.

The current bill contains language drafted by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms, R-N.C., and Ranking Member Joseph Biden, D-Del. That language sets a formula for the United States to pay an overdue $582 million to the United Nations between 2002 and 2006. The Senate already passed that measure in February.

Secretary of State Colin Powell had urged the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to release the remaining dues to the United Nations.

But the amendment that might pass in the House would cut off the final $244 million in payments after 2004 unless the United States is allowed back into to the so-called human rights commission - which last week added genocidal, slavery-inflicting Sudan, among other notorious rights abusers.

Last week, in a move U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice called "an outrage," the

The U.N. further angered the United States by

According to Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., former chairman of the House International Relations Committee: "I think there is going to be severe reaction from the Congress. I have been supportive of paying the delinquency, but now I am not sure I want to rush into it."

Hyde said last week that the United States was being punished for disagreements with the rights commission.

"This appears to be a deliberate attempt to punish the United States for its insistence that the commission tell the truth about human rights abuses wherever they occur," said Hyde, chairman of the House International Relations Committee. "The decision may have the unfortunate result of turning the human rights commission into just another irrelevant international organization.

"This commission includes some of the world's premier human rights violators. The machinations of international bureaucrats are irrelevant to the plight of the world's oppressed people who yearn for the universal values of freedom and democracy to which the United States is deeply committed."

Prospects to cut off the payment plan in the Senate are unclear. But liberal Democrats said the amendment could exacerbate deteriorating international relations evident by the U.N. votes last week.

"I think it would compound one bad decision with another," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Biden said Tuesday that the U.N. snubs might have come, in part, because of decisions made by President Bush that have angered the "international community."

"I bet my staff that the Europeans aided and abetted this. And I'm sure they have. I think part of it is, 'OK, you are going to tell us you are building a missile defense system, you are going to tell us you are out of the [Senate-defeated] Kyoto accord, you are going to tell us you not going to continue to negotiate with North Korea? Well fine, lots of luck in your senior year.'"

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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The House is likely to consider an amendment today that would halt the back payments in two years unless the United States is welcomed back to the commission. Proponents predict that the bipartisan amendment drafted by House International Relations Committee Chairman...
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2001-00-08
Tuesday, 08 May 2001 12:00 AM
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