Washington, D.C. (July 12, 2009) – Responding to the House and Senate votes to pay back all U.S. debt to the UN since the 1999 Helms-Biden agreement, Mr. Ted Turner, founder of the United Nations Foundation, and UN Foundation President Senator Timothy E. Wirth issued the following statement:
“Today, the U.S. Congress renewed the United States’ commitment to the United Nations and international cooperation as an important means of solving global problems. Great nations pay their bills, and today’s action will ensure that the United States has honored in full its commitments to the United Nations. Much of the $906 million approved today by Congress will support the lifesaving work undertaken through UN peacekeeping operations.
“It is clear and encouraging that President Obama and Congress recognize that international cooperation through the UN helps America share the cost and burden of solving the great global challenges of the 21st century. The U.S. cannot go it alone in addressing such critical economic, security, and environmental problems as poverty, disease, climate change, and terrorism. Working with others and paying our fair share is good for the United States and the rest of the world. By fully funding the UN and other international organizations whose work supports U.S. national security, we create greater legitimacy for our foreign policy and economic goals and empower U.S. diplomacy.
“We congratulate President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chairmen David Obey and Nita Lowey on the House Appropriations Committee, Chairmen Daniel Inouye and Patrick Leahy on the Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as their Ranking Members Thad Cochran and Judd Gregg, and their teams for their vision and determination in enabling this U.S. debt to be paid.
“But the hard work is not done. It is essential that the United States continues to pay its dues to the UN in full and on time. The next opportunity to do so comes in the fiscal year 2010 budget, in which the President has requested that Congress pay the full amount the U.S. will owe for next year upfront to end the practice of paying our bills late. We urge members of Congress to meet the President’s request and continue America’s resumption of leadership through multilateral diplomacy.”
About the United Nations Foundation
The UN Foundation, a public charity, was created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes and activities. The UN Foundation is an advocate for the UN and a platform for connecting people, ideas, and resources to help the United Nations solve global problems. It builds partnerships, grows constituencies, mobilizes resources, and advocates policy changes to support the UN’s work for individual and global progress. The UN Foundation’s work is focused on decreasing child mortality, improving disaster relief, protecting diverse cultures and environments, creating a clean energy future, empowering women and girls, and improving U.S.-UN relations. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.