Venezuela owes millions to the United Nations in back dues but is having difficulty paying them in part due to U.S. sanctions.
As the new session of the U.N. General Assembly opened on Tuesday, member states were told that four countries are in deep arrears and could potentially lose their right to vote on resolutions.
Those countries are Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia and Venezuela. It is not the first time they find themselves in this position — all have had problems meeting the minimum payments before.
A country can lose its right to vote in the General Assembly if its arrears equal or exceed the amount of the contributions due from it for the preceding two years.
Venezuela owes the most — just over $76 million — if it wants to retain its right to vote. Somalia is a distant second with $1.2 million in arrears, and the African nations of Comoros and Sao Tome each owe under $1 million.
“The General Assembly may, nevertheless, commit such a member to vote if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member,” Dennis Francis, the newly sworn-in president of the General Assembly, told the meeting.
The assembly took note of the information on the arrears.
While the United States provides humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people, it has limited economic engagement with the regime of Nicolas Maduro, which it considers illegitimate.
Since 2017, Washington has imposed extensive bilateral sanctions on the regime for “its extensive corruption, economic mismanagement and violation of international norms.”
“In the past, Venezuela has tried to find alternative methods of payment to avoid some of the problems they face in terms of access to the banking system in the United States,” a U.N. spokesperson told VOA. “So, when, as needed, the U.N. has tried to assist that effort.”
As of September 1, 133 of the United Nations’ 193 member states have fully paid their dues for 2023.
Source: Voa News