New Delhi: India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Syed Akbaruddin on Friday said it was one of the 35 of the 193 member-states to have paid all its dues to the United Nations. According to a report, the world body is currently more than $200 million in the red.
While the UN will not publicly identify the countries who have not cleared their payments, sources said 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.
Akbaruddin on Twitter said that India has paid off all its dues to the world body until now. Other countries on the list include Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and Switzerland, among others.
Akbaruddin's comment came a few days after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of the "worst cash crisis facing the United Nations in nearly a decade", with several member-states behind in their dues payments. Guterres cautioned that the UN "runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors".
The last country to have paid up is war-wracked Syria, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric had said on Tuesday at his daily press conference. In a letter sent on Monday to the 37,000 employees at the UN secretariat, Guterres said the UN had a deficit of $230 million as of the end of September.
He had indicated that if the world body had not taken the initiative to cut spending since the start of the year, the hole would have been even bigger in October -- possibly $600 million -- and could have affected last month's General Assembly attended by world leaders.
In his statement on Tuesday, Guterres thanked the 129 member-states who have paid up "and urged those who have not paid to do so urgently and in full".
To limit expenditures from now until year's end, the UN chief has raised the possibility of postponing conferences and meetings, limiting all but essential official travel, and reducing services.