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Trump budget cut bid would make it ‘impossible’ for U.N.: spokesman

U.S. President Donald Trump’s bid to slash funding for the United Nations would make it “impossible” for it to continue its essential work, a U.N. spokesman said on Wednesday, adding that the organization was ready to discuss reform with Washington.

The Trump proposal cuts about a third from U.S. diplomacy and aid budgets, or nearly $19 billion. This includes cutting some $1 billion from a U.N. peacekeeping funding and a steep cut to funding for international organizations.

The United States is the biggest U.N. contributor, paying 22 percent of the $5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 percent of the $7.9 billion peacekeeping budget. These assessed contributions are agreed by the 193-member U.N. General Assembly.

“The figures presented would simply make it impossible for the U.N. to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement.

Congress sets the federal government budget, and Republicans who control both houses and Democrats have said they do not support such drastic cuts.

Trump has said the U.S. share of the U.N. budgets was “unfair.” The General Assembly is currently negotiating the U.N. regular budget for both 2018 and 2019 and the peacekeeping budget from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

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