Trump prepares orders to cut UN funding, leave treaties

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump walks to the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, January 25, 2017, (Photo by AFP)

The administration of US President Donald Trump is preparing two executive orders to drastically reduce funding for the United Nations and other international organizations, as well as begin a process to review and potentially leave some multilateral treaties, according to a new report.

The first executive order, titled “Auditing and Reducing US Funding of International Organizations,” calls for terminating funding for any UN agency or other international body that meets any one of several criteria, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, organizations that give full membership to the Palestinian Authority or Palestine Liberation Organization, programs that fund abortions and any program that circumvents sanctions against Iran or North Korea are included in the criteria.

The draft order also calls for terminating funding for any organization that violates human rights or is controlled by any state that sponsors terrorism.

Overall, the order is aimed at cutting Washington’s funding for international organizations by 40 percent, the report added.

The second executive order, titled “Moratorium on New Multilateral Treaties,” calls for a review of all current and pending treaties with more than one other country and asks for recommendations on which negotiations or treaties Washington should abrogate.

US allies have reacted with a mix of alarm and skepticism to the report. A senior European diplomat said on Wednesday that the draft orders looked draconian.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to withdraw the US from international organizations like the UN and expressed heavy distrust about multilateral agreements such as the Paris climate agreement.

“It would potentially be brutal but as with all these executive orders we have to wait to see what happens in practice,” the diplomat said.

Washington has earmarked $594 million in the UN operations funding for next year, but the figure approaches $3 billion once peacekeeping costs are factored in.

Republicans in the US Congress said earlier this month that they were putting together a number of measures to defund the UN in retaliation for the world body’s recent resolution against Israeli settlement activities. 

The administration of then US President Barack Obama came under bipartisan fire in late December, when it abstained from voting on the Security Council Resolution 2334, which stated that Israel must stop its “illegal” settlement building on occupied Palestinian lands, including Jerusalem al-Quds.

Trump blasted the resolution, saying the UN had become “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!”

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