U.S. Congress cannot agree to the withholding provisions

The Bush administration told Congress on Wednesday it opposes a bill to overhaul the way the United Nations works, citing a requirement the U.S. withhold dues if the organization fails to make changes.

The bill, sponsored by &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2001/11/26/22011.html ' target=_blank>Rep. Henry Hyde, chairman of the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/08/27/35397_.html ' target=_blank>House International Relations Committee, was to be debated by the House on Thursday.

``We specifically cannot agree to the withholding provisions,'' Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said. ``We are the founder, host country and leading contributor to the U.N.''

Withholding one-half of the U.S. dues ``would deal a great blow to our credibility in the U.N. system, and it would have ramifications for the reliability of the United States as a friend and partner to the countries that comprise the U.N,'' Burns said.

Hyde, R-Ill., said he was not surprised by the opposition, but promised to push back, tells the Guardians Unlimited.

According to Reuters, eight former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations urged the U.S. Congress on Tuesday to reject legislation that would dock payments to the world body unless specific reform plans were enacted.

The ambassadors, in a letter to Republican and Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate, said withholding U.S. dues would be counterproductive, create resentment, build animosity "and actually strengthen opponents of reform."

The letter was signed by Madeleine Albright, John Danforth, Richard Holbrooke, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Donald McHenry, Thomas Pickering, Bill Richardson and Andrew Young.

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