US hails UN budget cuts as 'step in right direction'

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UNITED NATIONS: The United States on Sunday applauded a cut of US$285 million (S$382 million) in the United Nations (UN) core budget, saying it was "a big step in the right direction".

The General Assembly adopted a budget of US$5.396 billion for 2018-2019, slightly below the US$5.4 billion UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had sought.

The US is by far the largest contributor to the UN budget, providing for 22 per cent of the core budget.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement that "inefficiency and overspending" at the world body were "well known".

"We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked," she said.

"This historic reduction in spending - in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN - is a big step in the right direction."

The UN's operating budget is separate from its peacekeeping budget, which was cut by US$600 million this year under pressure from US President Donald Trump's administration. - AFP