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Somalia to lose voting rights at UN by September if it fails to pay $1.5m debt

Saturday January 11, 2020

NEW YORK (HOL) - Somalia has until September this year to cut down its arrears owed to the UN or lose its vote in the global body’s General Assembly.

A resolution by UN General Assembly in October exempted Somalia alongside Comoros and Sao Tome and Principe from losing their vote in the assembly but directed they will only have the right to vote until the end of the 74th session which lapses in September.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric confirmed Friday the resolution noting the three countries will still enjoy their voting rights.

“[The Assembly] decides that the Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia shall be permitted to vote in the General Assembly until the end of its seventy-fourth session,” the resolution read in part.

Article 19 of the UN Charter states that a member state in arrears in the payment of its dues in an amount that equals or exceeds the contributions due for two preceding years can lose its vote in the General Assembly.

However, countries which are unable to meet their financial obligations owing to circumstances ‘beyond their control’ can be exempted.

According to a letter dated 7 January 2020 from the Secretary-General addressed to the President of the General Assembly, countries in arrears which include Somalia have to reduce their arrears so as to remain below the gross amount assessed for the preceding two full years (2018 and 2019).

The letter states that Somalia has to pay $1, 451 951 to bring its arrears to acceptable minimum while Venezuela has to pay with $21, 478, 709.

The UN stripped seven countries of their voting rights because of the arrears. These are: Central African Republic, Gambia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Tonga, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) and Yemen


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