Statement by Timothy E. Wirth, President of the UN Foundation, Regarding The U.S. Institute of Peace Report on UN Reforms
Washington, DC — June 15, 2005
Senator Timothy E. Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation, today welcomed the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) bipartisan report on UN reforms saying momentum is clearly behind the reform effort and the U.S. must seize this opportunity for leadership. “This bipartisan report is a welcome part of many ongoing efforts to enact reform at the UN,” stated Wirth.
Wirth was also pleased to note the report did not endorse the withholding of dues as a method to bringing about reforms in the UN. This comes just one day before the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on reform legislation that would take a drastic measure, not endorsed by the USIP Task Force chairs, to automatically stop U.S. payment of UN dues and a substitute bill that calls for comprehensive UN reform without counter-productive measures that would harm reform efforts, instead of help make the UN more accountable and effective.
“After almost six months of careful consideration and bipartisan discussion, it is heartening that this task force’s report underscores the importance of the UN to U.S. interests and encourages our leadership on this issue. The reforms laid out in the report, many of which they point out are embraced and even initiated by the UN, can successfully be achieved by diplomacy and building coalitions.
“We gave our word to the UN and the other Member States that we would pay our dues and in order for the UN to work effectively, nations must honor that promise. I am heartened by former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s remarks today that the withholding of dues should be the “last option,” considered. I encourage him to share that conclusion with his Republican colleagues who will be debating legislation on this issue tomorrow.
“It is critical that we create a UN for the next generation, capable of addressing today’s challenges such as terrorism and HIV/AIDS, and doing so will take an actively engaged U.S. that has learned from history that threatening to withhold dues is not an effective way to achieve progress or change. Serious international issues in North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and Darfur are on the horizon and it would be counterproductive for the U.S. to enact a policy of holding back on paying our dues, making the UN less capable of dealing with these critical areas,” concluded Wirth.
The UN Foundation was created in 1998 with businessman and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support United Nations’ causes. The UN Foundation promotes a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world through the support of the UN. Through its grant making and by building new and innovative public-private partnerships, the UN Foundation acts to meet the most pressing health, humanitarian, socioeconomic, and environmental challenges of the 21st century.