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Granger Opening Statement: FY 15 Budget Request for the United Nations and International Organizations

April 2, 2014
Press Release

The Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs will come to order.  

Ambassador Power, thank you for being here today to testify on the fiscal year 2015 budget request for the United Nations and other international organizations.  

The direct appropriation requested goes up significantly - by more than 25%.  We need to hear why this is justified, especially in light of the fiscal challenges we face here at home.  

In the short time you have been Ambassador to the U.N., many important issues have come before you that impact U.S. national security.    

On Iran -- the U.N., and the I.A.E.A. in particular, have an important role to play, both in terms of making sure Iran follows through on its commitments, and in keeping up the pressure as a final deal is negotiated.   

In Syria -- the U.N.’s role is critical, both in eliminating the chemical weapons stockpile and in getting humanitarian aid to people in dire need.  

On Ukraine -- the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution last week that affirms its commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty.  However, the U.N. has not been able to send a more powerful message because of Russia’s veto in the Security Council.

On the Israeli-Palestinian peace process -- just yesterday, President Abbas announced that the Palestinians intend to become a party to 15 international conventions.  This is very concerning and could jeopardize the peace process, and possibly U.S. assistance.

The Administration must send a clear message to the Palestinians that the only path to statehood is through a negotiated agreement with Israel, not through unilateral attempts at the U.N.

I hope you will update the subcommittee on these and other policy challenges you face.

There are a few other issues that I want to mention.

The first is U.N. reform. During your confirmation hearing, you said that you would aggressively pursue efforts at the U.N. to eliminate waste, improve accounting and management, strengthen whistleblower protections, and end any tolerance for corruption.  I would like to know what progress you have made in these areas.  

As you know, the fiscal year 2014 appropriations bill strengthens the transparency and accountability requirements.  After all of these years, there is simply no excuse for the U.N. not making these common sense changes.  

The other issue is the significant fiscal year 2015 budget proposed for the U.N. and its agencies.

In addition to the funding requested, the subcommittee has learned that the U.S. intends to vote for a new peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic.  The humanitarian situation is troubling, and there is a clear need to protect civilians and ease the suffering.   

Yet, the cost of such a mission would be significant and the subcommittee will need to know what you plan to reduce to offset the commitment and whether you intend to submit a budget amendment to congress.     

The United States is by far the largest contributor to U.N. organizations and peacekeeping activities.  More work needs to be done to ensure that the U.N. is making serious trade-offs and is getting its budget under control.  

In closing, I want to thank you and the U.S. delegations to the U.N. in New York and around the world for the work you do to promote our national interests.

And now I’ll now turn to Ranking Member Lowey for her opening remarks.