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Cablegate: Uruguayan Finance Minister Says Un Officials

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUCNDT #0115 0572323
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 262323Z FEB 10
FM USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8239
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 0021

UNCLAS USUN NEW YORK 000115

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MARR UNSC UY
SUBJECT: URUGUAYAN FINANCE MINISTER SAYS UN OFFICIALS
BLAMING U.S. AND OTHERS' ARREARS FOR LATE PAYMENT TO
URUGUAYAN PEACEKEEPERS

1. (SBU) Uruguayan Minister of Economy and Finance Alvaro
Garcia requested a meeting with Ambassador Wolff to express
Uruguay's concern about the UN's late disbursements to
Uruguayan peacekeepers. Garcia said Uruguay has been
contributing to UN peacekeeping operations for years,
regardless of the changes in government and that Uruguay
ranks among the top contributing countries per capita.
However, the UN's failure to pay Uruguay's peacekeepers has
now become a sensitive domestic issue, because the families
of the soldiers--in some cases their widows--have openly
complained in the domestic press that they have not received
payments for up to a full year. As a result, the Ministry of
Defense has had to borrow money to make up for delayed UN
funds. This extra-budgetary cost is becoming an increasing
burden on the government's budget. Despite the systematic
delay in payments, Garcia said Uruguay is still committed to
UN peacekeeping missions.

2. (SBU) Garcia said he met with U/SG for Peacekeeping
Operations Alain LeRoy and U/SG for Field Support Susana
Malcorra as well as with Japan's PR Yukio Takasu to raise
this issue. According to Garcia, Malcorra responded that
there is simply no money to pay the peacekeepers and that
some missions, particularly MINUSTAH, are consistently in the
red. Ambassador Wolff remarked that USUN speaks often with
the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and that this issue
has never been raised. Garcia did not mention LeRoy or
Malcorra by name, but he said UN officials blame the major
budget-contributing countries for their failure to pay their
UN dues on time, which consequently affects the UN's ability
to pay the troop-contributing countries. Garcia said this
issue needs to be settled soon for future planning of
missions. Ambassador Wolff said we would look into the matter
with the appropriate UN officials.
RICE

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