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Annan Postpones Asia Trip to Tackle UN Budget

Annan Postpones Asia Trip to Tackle UN Budget And Other Political Issues at Headquarters

New York, Dec 1 2005 8:00PM

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has delayed a planned two-week official trip to Asia that was to have started this weekend because of urgent political concerns, including thorny negotiations among Member States over the UN's biennial budget, a spokeswoman for the world body announced today.

"The Secretary-General has informed the governments of China, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Viet Nam of his intention of postponing the upcoming Asian visit because of pressing matters, in particular the discussions over the UN budget and other urgent political issues," Marie Okabe said.

General Assembly committees have been holding talks on new ways for the UN to deal with human rights, peace building and management reforms, as well as the budgetary implications of these new initiatives.

UN Controller Warren Sach told a news conference yesterday that proposals to fund the world body for just the first three months out of the next biennium so as to postpone confrontations over reform of the Organization might leave it in serious financial straits early next year.

The $3.89 billion regular budget proposal before the Fifth (Administrative and Budgetary) Committee included some $73.4 million to cover reform recommendations adopted by world leaders attending a UN Summit in September, he said. Cash requirements for the first quarter of the year would amount to $450 to $500 million, but only $170 to $180 million would probably be received, leaving a $320 million gap for the quarter.

The regular budget includes all the mandated activities of the UN, except for peacekeeping operations, international tribunals, specialized agencies and the Headquarter facilities master plan. Those are funded through other assessments and contributions.

Mr. Annan's Asia trip was to have dealt with issues ranging from bird flu to UN reform. In Hong Kong he was to have addressed the opening of the World Trade Or

ENDS

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