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|Friday, May 11, 2001, updated at 10:56(GMT+8)|
Annan Presses U.S. Over U.N. DuesSecretary-General Kofi Annan said he ``could not applaud'' an angry vote Thursday in the U.S. House to withhold $244 million in back U.N. dues until the United States is put back on the U.N.'s human rights panel.
Annan expressed hope that the United States would restore normal relations with the world body. The solution, he said, ``is not punishing the U.N., but working with the other member states.''
Under an agreement forged in December by former U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the 188 other U.N. members agreed to a demand by Congress to reduce the U.S. share of U.N. administrative and peacekeeping costs. In return, the United States had agreed to pay the $582 million in arrears this year and the $244 million next year.
Annan said it was wrong to punish the United Nations and noted that the Bush administration opposed the House vote.
Annan said the funds should be paid, and ``the U.S. should establish normal relations with the U.N. And quite frankly, I thought at the beginning of the year we were there. We should try and stay on a very even course and normal relationship with the U.S.''
The money is owed to countries that contributed troops to U.N. peacekeeping operations.
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