The United Nations has tentatively agreed to cut nearly $600 million from the organization’s peacekeeping budget after pressure from President Donald Trump’s White House to reduce funding. Under the agreement, the UN will spend $7.3 billion on peacekeeping in the next year, down from the current amount of $7.87 billion, Agence France-Press reported Wednesday.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley cheered the agreement on Twitter late Wednesday. “Just 5 months into our time here, we’ve cut over half a billion dollars from the UN peacekeeping budget and we’re only getting started”, she wrote.
Trump had previously angered UN diplomats by pushing for a $1 billion cut to funding. Hardest hit by the cuts will be the UN missions in Sudan’s troubled region of Darfur and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the two costliest operations with budgets that run over $1 billion.
The closure of the UN mission in Haiti in October will also generate savings. A Security Council diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said however, that there will be “cuts across the board” in the 13 missions as a result of U.S. pressure.
But French Ambassador Francois Delattre said the cuts will allow the missions to continue their peacekeeping work “while being more efficient”. “The savings proposed in the budget have been carefully targeted”, Delattre told AFP.
Washington pays 28.5 percent of the peacekeeping budget and 22 percent of the UN’s core budget of $5.4 billion. Haley wants to bring the U.S. share of the peacekeeping budget down to 25 percent. China, Japan, Germany and France are the four biggest peacekeeping financial backers after the United States.
The budget deal falls short of what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was seeking. He had put forward a budget of $7.97 billion for the year which runs from July 1 to June 30, 2018.
The Security Council is expected to vote as early as Thursday on significant cuts to the 17,000-strong joint African Union-UN mission in Darfur known as UNAMID.