Vanuatu back in UN ‘good books’ – pays fees, regains voting rights

Vanuatu Prme Minister Bob Loughman
Vanuatu Prme Minister Bob Loughman remotely addresses the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in a pre-recorded message at the UN Headquarters last year. Image: Vanuatu Daily Post/AFP

By Anita Roberts and Kizzy Kalsakau in Port Vila

Vanuatu has now regained its United Nations voting rights after recently being denied the right over unpaid fees.

The Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Yvon Basil, confirmed that the government had paid US$192 to regain the right to vote.

An amount of $74,562 was also paid to settle outstanding arrears, he said.

“We’ve paid out our right to vote and settled our outstanding arrears. We have no more dues with UN and are back on the good books of UN,” he said.

“UN has acknowledged Vanuatu for sorting out its dues.”

Apart from Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea — which owed $13,000 — was also deprived of the right to vote but has recovered it after paying its arrears.

According to Article 19 of the UN Charter: “A Member of the United Nations which is in arrears in the payment of its financial contributions to the Organisation shall have no vote in the General Assembly if the amount of its arrears equals or exceeds the amount of the contributions due from it for the proceeding two full years.

“The General Assembly may, nevertheless, permit such a member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member.”

Iran pays $18 million
News agencies report that payment by last Friday of more than $18 million by Iran, via an account in Seoul and most likely with the approval of the United States, which has imposed heavy financial sanctions on Tehran, had been announced by UN sources and confirmed by South Korea.

Guinea had to pay at least $40,000 to recover its right to vote.

UN spokeswoman Paulina Kubiak said three other countries that had lost their UN voting rights in early January had also recovered them after paying the minimum arrears required last week.

Those countries were Sudan, which had to pay about $300,000, Antigua and Barbuda, which owed some $37,000 and Congo-Brazzaville, with around $73,000 in arrears, said Kubiak.

On the other hand, Venezuela, which is facing a minimum payment of nearly $40 million, remainec deprived of the right to vote, according to the U.N.

It was the only country out of the 193 UN members that would not be able to participate in votes this year.

Anita Roberts and Kizzy Kalsakau are Vanuatu Daily Post reporters. Republished with permission.

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