Lebanon to pay UN $1.8m arrears after losing voting rights

Lebanon and five other states had their voting rights suspended for not making the minimum contribution to membership

epa08687368 A handout photo made available by UN photo shows Michel Aoun, President of Lebanon, speaking during the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York, New York, USA, 21 September 2020. Due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations meetings are held mostly virutal. Seated at dais are Volkan Bozkir (at left), President of the seventy-fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly, and Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.  EPA/Rick Bajornas / UN Photo / HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
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Lebanon vowed to pay the $1.8m it owes to the UN's operating budget on Friday after losing its voting rights in the 193-member UN General Assembly.

Lebanon is among six countries to lose its right to vote after not meeting minimum contributions, along with Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Venezuela, South Sudan and Gabon, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.

In response to the suspension, Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the payment process would take place immediately.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants would like to clarify that all the payment stages of the required amount have been completed,” the ministry said.

“After the necessary contacts with each of the Lebanese Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, it has been confirmed that the final payment process will take place immediately in a manner that preserves Lebanon's rights in the United Nations.”

Lebanon previously lost voting rights temporarily in 2020 for failing to pay its share with the UN saying at the time that "we fully recognise that the recent events in Lebanon have challenged the banking system, delaying part of this money.”

Gabon is serving a two-year term on the UN Security Council, although its voting rights there are not affected.

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

It also gives the General Assembly the authority to decide if failure to pay is "due to conditions beyond the control of the member". In that case, a country can continue to vote.

According to the secretary general’s letter, the minimum payments needed to restore voting rights are $76,244,991 for Venezuela, $1,835,303 for Lebanon, $619,103 for Equatorial Guinea, $196,130 for South Sudan, $61,686 for Gabon and $20,580 for Dominica.

The General Assembly decided that three African countries on the list of nations in arrears ― Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia ― can keep their voting rights. It granted the three countries the same exemption last year.

AP contributed to this report

Updated: January 20, 2023, 2:10 PM