BEIRUT — Lebanon, Venezuela, South Sudan, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and the Dominican Republic have lost their right to vote in the UN General Assembly for not paying their minimum contributions to the operating budget of the international organization.
UN Secretary-General Antonió Guterres said in a statement Thursday that Venezuela, Lebanon and South Sudan are behind on paying contributions to the operating budget and are among six countries, out of a total of 193 members, who have lost their voting rights in the General Assembly.
Lebanon's assessed contribution for the years 2021/2022 amounts to US$1,835,303.
In his statement Thursday, Guterres said that "the minimum payments required to restore voting rights are $76,244,991 for Venezuela, $1,835,303 for Lebanon, $619,103 for Equatorial Guinea, $196,130 for South Sudan, $61,686 for Gabon and $20,580 for the Dominican Republic.
Foreign Ministry downplays
Lebanon's Foreign Affairs Ministry on Friday downplayed reports that the country was delayed in paying its contributions to the UN and said in a statement that "the steps for payment have already been initiated."
"After contacts with the head of government and the Minister of Finance, it turned out that the final payment will be made immediately, which will preserve Lebanon's rights at the UN," the ministry said, without giving a specific date.
This is not the first time that Lebanon finds itself in this situation. In 2019 and 2020, and in 2002 and 2003, it had also not paid its contribution.
Since Jan. 9, several member countries, including Lebanon, which have been behind on payments for two years, have been subject to the provisions of the UN Charter's Article 19, which means that they lose their right to vote in the General Assembly. Only countries that can show their inability to pay due to conditions beyond their control are exempt.