NATIONAL

‘U.S. should keep UN commitments’

India’s former UN diplomats urge

It is necessary for the United States to keep its commitment to the United Nations, said India’s former diplomats at the UN, including former U.S. Under-Secretary Generals and key peacekeeping officials at a function in the national capital on Friday.

“The U.S., that has been the unipolar dominant power at the U.N., remained broadly committed to its U.N. responsibilities despite feeling frustrated by the UN Security Council, so far. But now that has changed. Serious questions like whether the U.S. will withdraw from the U.N. are being asked,” said Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, referring to the Trump administration’s reported plans to cut funding to the United Nations.

Budget cut

According to a report published by online portal ForeignPolicy.com this week, the U.S. government plans to cut its U.N. contribution by as much as 40% in the upcoming budget year, which would severely cripple U.N. programmes given that the U.S. contributed over $2 billion to the U.N.’s $8 billion budget last year.

Adding to the debate, during the function, which was held to launch a book on India’s engagement with the United Nations, Seven decades and beyond: The UN-India connect , Puducherry governor Ms. Kiran Bedi, who had served as the United Nations’ Civilian police advisor on peacekeeping, said that terrorism, not funding, is the biggest challenge to the U.N.’s survival in the future.

‘Biggest challenge’

“The biggest challenge before the U.N. Secretary General today is how he addresses the global war on terrorism and finds a common definition for terrorism. What is lacking is not just U.S. presence, but how it can stay relevant without taking a stronger position on terrorism, and help pass the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which India has sponsored,” Ms. Bedi said at the function.

The book was launched by the U.N.’s resident coordinator Yuri Afanasiev, along with an array of famous Indian diplomats who have served in the most senior capacities in the United Nations, including Special Advisor on Myanmar Vijay Nambiar, former Commander of U.N. forces in Yugoslavia Lt. Gen (Retired) Satish Nambiar, former Chef de Cabinet to the United Nations Secretary General Virendra Dayal and former Under Secretaries General Chinmaya Gharekhan and Nitin Desai.

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