US to pay off UN Peacekeeping debt

In a meeting at the Security Council yesterday, Susan Rice announced that the United States had officially paid off it’s arrears to UN Peacekeeping.  From a Louis Charbonneau in Reuters (in which the Better World Campaign is given a nice shout-out)

“The United States is now in a position to clear all peacekeeping arrears accumulated from 2005 to 2008 and to meet our obligations in full for 2009 — currently estimated at approximately $2.2 billion,” Rice told a U.N. Security Council meeting on peacekeeping.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations said the 2005-2008 arrears amounted to $159 million. Revising earlier information, she said the 2005-2008 arrears were included in the total $2.2 billion owed to the U.N. peacekeeping department. 

Susan Rice has consistently said that strengthening UN Peacekeeping was one of her top goals at the United Nations.   American debt to UN Peacekeeping, however, called into question the United States’ real commitment to this goal. The debt also did actual harm to an organization that was already cash-strapped.  ‘

Paying off US debt to peacekeeping both lifts a huge burden from peacekeeping and is a symbolic show of American support for UN peacekeeping and all that it can accomplish when given the right backing. It’s nice to see the United States putting its money where its mouth is.