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AFP
October 10, 2019

UN in the red, staff salaries at risk

World

AFP
October 10, 2019

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations has an overall annual operating budget of several billion dollars, covering everything from humanitarian work to disarmament, but right now, it’s just trying to make sure its employees get paid after this month.

How did the world body end up more than $200 million in the red?

The answer: member states who have not paid their expected contributions, including the United States. On Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the "worst cash crisis facing the United Nations in nearly a decade." He cautioned the UN "runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors."

Several member states are behind in their dues payments. The UN will not publicly identify those countries, but sources told AFP the main culprits are the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Iran.

In all, 64 countries owe money to the UN. Also on the list of budget delinquents are Venezuela, North Korea, South Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The last country to have paid up is war-wracked Syria, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday at his daily press conference. In a letter sent Monday to the 37,000 employees at the UN secretariat, which was obtained by AFP, Guterres said the UN had a deficit of $230 million as of the end of September.

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