Turner's $34M Gift Delivers Breakthrough at UN
Usborne, David, The Independent (London, England)
NEGOTIATIONS AMONG 188 countries, which have ground on for nearly six years, were suddenly unlocked yesterday thanks to a surprise Christmas gift from a solitary world citizen.
Ted Turner, the cable TV pioneer, wants to give the United Nations $34m (pounds 23m) to help end its budgetary crisis.
Diplomats confirmed that, barring last-minute obstacles, a deal had been struck to restructure national contributions to the UN's administrative budget and its fund for covering peace-keeping costs, adding that it might not have happened without Mr Turner.
Critically, the agreement slashes the share of the UN's cost that will be borne in future by the United States.
Relations between the organisation and America have been poisoned for years by Washington's failure to pay its dues in full. The Congress has offered to repay its debts but on condition that an agreement on cutting its contributions was reached first.
With final details still being sorted out yesterday, the package foresees the American share of the main $1bn UN budget falling from its current level of 25 per cent to 22 per cent. …