UNITED NATIONS (AP) — After drawing a rebuke from the White House, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon tried Thursday to smooth over his characterization of the U.S. as a "deadbeat" for its late payments to the world body.
"My point was simply that the United Nations needs the fullest support of its members, and never more so than in these very demanding times," Ban told reporters at U.N. headquarters
The White House objected to Ban's use of the word "deadbeat" to describe the U.S. during a private meeting Wednesday with lawmakers at the Capitol, a day after he met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Ban's "word choice was unfortunate," given that the U.S. is the largest contributor to the United Nations.
The United States pays 22 percent of the organization's nearly $5 billion operating budget but is perennially late paying its dues.
Asked whether Ban should retract his comment, Gibbs said some recognition by Ban of the U.S. role would be appropriate.
"I think given the contribution that the American taxpayer makes, I do think it would be appropriate to acknowledge that role," Gibbs told reporters at his daily briefing.
Ban visited the White House at Obama's invitation Tuesday, then made the rounds Wednesday on Capitol Hill seeking to improve relations between the United Nations and the U.S.
On Thursday, Ban called his choice of words a "misunderstanding."
"I noted how generous the United States has been in supporting the U.N., both in terms of assessed and voluntary contributions. At the same time, I noted that the United States is also the largest debtor, owing more than $1 billion in arrears, soon to reach $1.6 billion," he said.
The U.S. is behind on its payments partly because its budget runs on a different calendar than the U.N.'s, but also because Congress and previous U.S. administrations have withheld funding to try to push through U.N. reforms or because of other ideological disputes.
Obama has pledged to fix that.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the senior Republican on the House Foreign Relations Committee, said she took "great umbrage" at Ban's use of the word "deadbeat."
Mark Kornblau, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said that "those are not the words we would have chosen to encourage Congress to address this problem."
Ban drew muted support from his meetings in Congress, where members privately described him as dedicated, thoughtful and serious but generating little excitement. Some of the House and Senate leaders who met with Ban agreed with his assessment of the United States' late payments.
"Clearly they have an interest in the United States meeting its responsibility. In terms of peacekeeping, we're about $670 million behind, and I think the argument is well-stated," said Rep. Bill Delahunt, a Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee.
Ban also met with Democratic Rep. Ed Markey, who heads a House global warming panel, and Sen. John Kerry, the Senate Foreign Relations chairman.
"Around the world, the United Nations is underfunded and overtasked," Kerry said, standing beside Ban and Republican Sen. Richard Lugar.
Robert Orr needs a Chinese Visa to enter UN's DC2 building
Rio+20: GreenPeace Statement
Greenpeace International Executive Director has released a statement on his views of Rio+20. "The future we want has gotten a little further away today. Rio+20 has turned into an epic failure, It has failed on equity, failed on ecology and failed on economy" were Kumi Naidoo frank comments after the text for the outcome document was adopted. Please click here for the full statement.
UN Policy Coordination on the Road
DESA's Telecommuting Assistant Secretary General
Sha Zukang's behavior not appropriate...
Sha's behavior was not appropriate as a senior advisor. And he also knows that his behavior has embarrassed most of the [other] senior advisors at that time.
Mr. Chance (buy this book now)
Click on the picture and purchase this book now. It's already a best seller. It shows the coward Ban Ki Moon and his Korean team in action.
Chinese Social Affairs Department
"UN needs complete leadership overhaul"
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell, who asked Ashdown to carry out the report, said the government would give its response in about six weeks.
Czech President Klaus
"...this is the time for international organizations, including the United Nations, to reduce their expenditures, make their administrations thinner, and leave the solutions to the governments of member states"
Sha Zukang Disrespectful of UN Rules
UN staff rules require employees to uphold and respect the principles set out in the Charter, including faith in fundamental human rights. They prohibit U.N. employees from accepting instructions from any government or from any other source external to the organization. UN staff should avoid any action and, in particular, any kind of public pronouncement that may adversely reflect on their status, or on the integrity, independence and impartiality that are required by that status.
Barack Obama on UN Reform
Obtain Refund of Funds Owed to the U.S. by the U.N.
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Let's raise our voices
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NyTimes disavows Ban Ki Moon
"The United States, meanwhile, should think hard about whether it wants to support Mr. Ban’s re-election" NyTimes Editorial - Nov 03, 2010
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State Department Spokesperson P.J. Crowley
"Sha Zukang seems to be cranky at lots of folks. It will not affect our relations with China."
UN STAFF RESOLUTION ON BAN KI MOON
If SG Ban Ki-moon fails to take immediate steps towards real reform to address these urgent systemic issues, Staff Union will consider a vote of NO-CONFIDENCE
Backstabbing for Beginners
Backstabbing for Beginners is at once the darkly comic tale of one man's political coming of age and a stinging indictment of the hypocrisy that prevailed at the heart of the world's most idealistic institution.
Hacked Emails Show Blatant Climate Change Fraud
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What will this successful Chinese Diplomat do different?