BEIRUT: The United Nations announced on Friday that Lebanon was barred from voting at the General Assembly after failing to pay its dues for the past two years. This makes Lebanon one of 10 member states that lost their voting right.
“We closed out 2019 with 146 Member States having paid their dues in full for the 2019 budget,” said the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric. “As of yesterday, 10 Member States were in arrears and fall under the provisions of Article 19.”
Lebanon's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had taken all the necessary measures to settle the payments but stopped short of explaining why the payment wasn't processed.
“Irrespective of who bears responsibility, Lebanon and the state’s reputation was damaged," the ministry said in a statement, adding that it hoped the issue will be soon resolved.
In 2018, the Minister of Foreign Affairs asked the Ministry of Finance to pay all dues in time.
"Lebanon's contributions to the General Assembly is annual and periodic. The delay in paying them reflects negatively on Lebanon's reputation," Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said in a letter to the Ministry of Finance.
In response to the letter's publication, the Ministry of Finance issued two tables showing that it had completed all required payments.
"We did not want to go back in records and reveal who should bear responsibility,” the table’s associated statement read.
The Ministry of Finance also explained on Saturday that it was not requested to pay any dues prior to the decision, adding that all contributions are annually scheduled by the concerned authority. The ministry said that another payment was only scheduled this morning and the deadline is Monday.
Nonetheless, the UN General Assembly released on January 7 a list of all member states that have not fulfilled their contributions along with the specific amount due for each country. Lebanon's due contribution sums up to $459,008.
"The problem is that the Ministry of Finance is always late with payments. The ministry should carry out its role and pay all dues without awaiting a request nor the review of periodic transactions," sources from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, adding that sources from within the Ministry of Finance would agree and testify to this because they are directly affected by the delay.
In its turn the Ministry of Finance said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should be held accountable for public issuing of internal correspondence. It also requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to acknowledge and admit its mistake and prepare to treat the situation on Monday.
Aside from Lebanon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Gambia, Lesotho, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, Tonga, Venezuela, and Yemen also lost their right to vote.
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