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UN agrees peacekeeping budget of $6.7 billion

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United Nations peacekeeping soldiers guard the compound of a school used as an electoral centre at the end of the presidential and legislative elections, in the mostly muslim PK5 neighbourhood of Bangui, Central African Republic, February 14, 2016. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – UN member countries on Sunday agreed to a peacekeeping budget of just under $6.7 billion, according to diplomatic sources.

Two sources confirmed to AFP an agreement had been reached for $6.689 billion, about $122 million less than what had been recommended by a panel of experts.

It is also about $600 million less than last year’s final figure of $7.3 billion.

Last year’s budget was initially set at $6.8 billion but was boosted in December by an additional $500 million for missions in Haiti and Sudan’s Darfur.

The UN currently has about 100,000 peacekeepers operating around the world, on fourteen active missions. The budget is set to be formally endorsed by the General Assembly later.

The most important and therefore financially demanding missions are in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Mali, each running to more than $1 billion a year.

The peacekeeping budget is separate from the UN’s operating budget which is announced in December.

Last year, the top contributors to peacekeeping funding were the United States with 28.5 per cent, China with 10.3 per cent and Japan with 9.7 per cent.

But in March, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said other countries need to “step up” and pay a bigger share, adding Washington would cap its contribution to 25 per cent.

The cap of 25 per cent of the US contribution has been in US law since the 1990s, but Congress has in the past waived that requirement at the administration’s request.

President Donald Trump’s administration has taken a hard line on UN funding, cutting contributions and pushing for cost-saving reforms.

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