PNG among nations to lose UN voting rights

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  • António Guterres
    António Guterres
    Secretary-General of the United Nations

Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu are in arrears on paying dues to the United Nations' operating budget and are among eight nations losing their voting rights in the 193-member General Assembly, the UN chief says.

Also losing voting rights are Iran, Venezuela, Sudan, Antigua and Barbuda, Republic of Congo and Guinea, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the letter to General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid on Wednesday.

The suspension takes effect immediately.

The UN Charter states that members whose arrears equal or exceed the amount of their contributions for the preceding two full years lose their voting rights.

But it also gives the General Assembly the authority to decide "that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member," and in that case a country can continue to vote.

The General Assembly decided that three African countries on the list of nations in arrears - Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia - would be able to keep their voting rights.

According to the secretary-general's letter, the minimum payments needed to restore voting rights are $US18,412,438 ($A25 million) for Iran, $US39.850,761 for Venezuela and $US299,044 for Sudan.

The five other countries each need less than $US75,000 to restore their voting rights.

Iran also lost its voting rights in January 2021. It regained those rights in June after making the minimum payment on its dues and lashed out at the United States for maintaining sanctions that have prevented it from accessing billions of dollars in foreign banks.

At that time UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq thanked banking and government authorities in various places, including South Korea, for enabling the payment to be made.

Former US president Donald Trump re-imposed sanctions on Iran after pulling the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and six major powers in 2018.

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