By Alessandra Bocchi.
Tunis, 24 February 2017:
For the second year in a row, Libya has lost its right to vote at the UN after again failing to pay its annual fee. It now has to pay a minimum of $6.5 million to cover its outstanding debts if it is to regain the right to vote. It is the largest amount any defaulting UN member has to pay.
A year ago, when Libya was first suspended for non payment of its membership fees, the minimum it was told to pay was just under $1.4 million.
Other countries which have also had their voting rights suspended this year for non-payment are Cape Verde, Papua-New Guinea, Sudan, Vanuatu and Venezuela. Four more, including Yemen and Djibouti, were also on the list of defaulters when Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote to the President of the General Assembly about the issue on 25 January, but have since paid their dues.
Another four who have not paid – Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia and Sao Tome & Principe – are being allowed to retain their right to vote on the basis that local conditions have made it impossible for them to pay.
Questions are being asked why the same exemption has not been applied to Libya when local conditions are so difficult that the UN itself is desperately trying to fix them – and pouring money into the country to do so.