Statement by Timothy E. Wirth, President of the Better World Fund on the House of Representatives Vote to Increase Funding for UN Peackeeping
Washington, DC — June 22, 2007
“The U.S. House of Representatives has done a great service for the American taxpayer and international peace and security by approving today an additional $195 million for UN peacekeeping operations in fiscal 2008.
“This increase in funding is an important step toward closing the gap between the needs of the peacekeeping missions that the United States is voting for in New York, and the funding provided by the U.S. government in Washington.
“Moreover, this increase in peacekeeping funds demonstrates widespread recognition of the opportunity and bargain that UN peacekeeping represents for advancing U.S. national security interests, and ensuring that the United States does not have to take all the risks or pay all the bills associated with international peace and security.
“This week, the Better World Campaign, an initiative of the Better World Fund, delivered to the House of Representatives the signatures of more than 32,000 Americans from across the nation. Each of these individuals signed a petition at www.PriceOfPeace.org calling for the United States to honor its commitments to UN peacekeeping on time and in full.
“While today’s Congressional action represents necessary progress, much work remains to be done to pay back prior U.S. debts to UN peacekeeping. Even with today’s proposed funding increase, the United States remains more than $700 million behind to the UN peacekeeping account—including $569 million of debt that has piled up from U.S. underfunding of UN peacekeeping in prior fiscal years.
“Recognizing the essential role of the United Nations in promoting peace, stability, democracy, and prosperity around the world, I hope the Congress will continue this momentum in strengthening the U.S.-UN relationship and restoring U.S. leadership at the United Nations.
“By paying what it owes, the United States will reinforce the basic support of the American people, make a significant contribution to U.S. re-engagement in the world, and provide additional leverage for continuing reform at the United Nations.”