UNITED NATIONS – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the U.N. is running out of money and is urging members to pay up amid a looming financial crisis for the international body.
In a letter to staff this week, seen by Fox News, Guterres says he has warned member states of a “troubling financial situation facing the United Nations," which he says is caused by late payments to the U.N. by member states.
“Our cash flow has never been this low so early in the calendar year, and the broader trend is also concerning; we are running out of cash sooner and staying in the red longer,” he says.
'Our cash flow has never been this low so early in the calendar year.'
Guterres went on to say that the organization will be taking measures to look at reducing costs, in a way that won’t affect their mission. He said he also will be proposing to states various steps to strengthen financial stability at the U.N.
Trump administration threats to cut funding do not appear to be directly linked to the cash crunch.
While the administration has been eyeing carefully its payments to various U.N. funds and agencies, the U.S. has not yet reduced or delayed its payments to the budget, though due to the fall start of the U.S. fiscal year, payments usually come later in the year.
Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Thursday that the issue is “late payments and payments not yet received to the regular budget.”
“Late payment has an impact obviously on our cash flow. It may have an impact on our ability to deliver mandates,” he said.
However, Hugh Dugan, a former U.S. diplomat at the U.N., said that other countries could be mimicking what is perceived as the U.S. backing away from its commitments at the body of diplomacy and international relations.
“A look at the record shows that Trump has continued to fund it at historic levels, chose it to sanction North Korea, and uses it as a platform to defend Israel. However, there is a wide misperception fed by Trump detractors and a combative media that his Administration has walked away from the U.N.,” Dugan, who is also a professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, said.
“Other countries mimic the U.S., and what they hear has led them to go slow on support and check writing,” he said.
Earlier this year, the U.S. withheld funding to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
Guterres’ call for members to cough up the cash, meanwhile, mimics the pressure the Trump administration has been putting on countries at both the U.N. and at NATO to fulfill their commitments.
On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley urged Arab states to provide more funding for Palestinians.
"Americans are very generous people. We are humanitarian oriented. And we continue to seek out ways to help the Palestinian people, whose plight is of genuine concern to us," she said.
“But we are not fools. If we extend a hand in friendship and generosity, we do not expect our hand to be bitten. And as we extend our hand, we also expect others to extend theirs as well.”