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US resists African bid for UN funding of new peace operations



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An ambitious push by African countries to secure UN financing for future peace operations is facing strong resistance from the United States, which has put forward conditions for the funding, according to documents seen by AFP on Wednesday.

Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast — the three African members of the Security Council — have presented a draft resolution that would allow UN financing for African peace missions on a case-by-case basis.

France and China strongly back the initiative that would provide the African Union with a major influx of funds and strengthen its response to conflicts on the continent.

But the United States on Wednesday put forward proposals in negotiations on the draft resolution, including one that would cap UN financing at 75 percent if the African Union can show that it can provide the remaining 25 percent of the overall costs.

In a note sent to the council and seen by AFP, the United States outlined 11 conditions for the financing, dealing a setback to African diplomats who had hoped for a vote on the draft Security Council resolution this week.

Negotiations intensified on Thursday with a view to reaching agreement on a text that could be put to a vote, possibly next week, diplomats said.

UN peacekeeping is already tightly focused on Africa, with half the 14 missions deployed on the continent, including the five biggest operations.

African countries provide nearly half of the UN peacekeepers deployed worldwide.

The proposal would allow future peace operations authorized by the African Union and the Security Council to receive crucial financing, in what would mark a major shift in the UN approach to peacekeeping.

At a council meeting last month, US Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Cohen said it was “premature” to decide on regular UN funding for African missions, citing ongoing questions about human rights and troop misconduct.

In its proposals, the United States requested that the African Union provide a detailed report to the council within six months on its efforts to protect human rights, strengthen financing and improve discipline.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres would then report on whether “future African Union-led peace support operations can be expected to meet equivalent standards to UN peacekeeping operations in those areas,” said the note.

The council would only then consider whether to provide financing, according to the US proposals, which set a December 2019 deadline for a decision.

The US proposals reflected deep skepticism of the plan and comes as the United States is seeking to cut back its contribution to the UN peacekeeping budget.

The United States is the number one financial contributor to UN peacekeeping, providing 28 percent of the $6.7 billion budget.