UN may run out of money by end of the month: Guterres

In this file photo taken on September 24, 2019 UN Secretary General AntÛnio Guterres speaks at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (AFP)
Updated 08 October 2019

UN may run out of money by end of the month: Guterres

  • To cut costs, Guterres mentioned postponing conferences and meetings and reducing services, while also restricting official travel to only essential activities and taking measures to save energy

UNITED NATIONS, United States: The United Nations is running a deficit of $230 million, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Monday, and may run out of money by the end of October.
In a letter intended for the 37,000 employees at the UN secretariat and obtained by AFP, Guterres said unspecified "additional stop-gap measures" would have to be taken to ensure salaries and entitlements are paid.
"Member States have paid only 70 per cent of the total amount needed for our regular budget operations in 2019. This translates into a cash shortage of $230 million at the end of September. We run the risk of depleting our backup liquidity reserves by the end of the month," he wrote.
To cut costs, Guterres mentioned postponing conferences and meetings and reducing services, while also restricting official travel to only essential activities and taking measures to save energy.
Guterres had asked member states earlier this year to up contributions to the world body to head off cash flow problems, but they refused, a UN official said on condition of anonymity.
"The ultimate responsibility for our financial health lies with Member States," Guterres said.
Not including what it pays for peacekeeping operations, the UN's operating budget for 2018-2019 is close to $5.4 billion, with the United States contributing 22 percent.
 


Asylum-seeking Iranian beauty queen still in custody at Manila airport

Updated 9 min 22 sec ago

Asylum-seeking Iranian beauty queen still in custody at Manila airport

  • Bahari said authorities in the Philippines were keeping her in the dark about the status of her asylum case
  • She has consistently said the assault and battery case against her is fake, and Tehran was targeting her for supporting an opposition politician

MANILA: An Iranian beauty queen seeking asylum in the Philippines remains incarcerated at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport almost a week after she was barred from entering the southeast Asian country due to an Interpol red notice.
Bahareh Zare Bahari, Iran’s representative to the 2018 Miss Intercontinental pageant, was arrested at the airport last Thursday following a charge against her for an assault and battery case allegedly committed in Dagupan City in the Philippines. Bahari denies any wrongdoing. 
Speaking to Arab News by telephone on Wednesday, Bahari said authorities in the Philippines were keeping her in the dark about the status of her asylum case.
“Filipino authorities are not updating me. They said they sent a letter to Interpol in Iran to get an answer from them. So they told me I have to wait until Iran Interpol answers,” she said. 
Bahari also said she was not feeling well and had been examined by a doctor at the airport on Tuesday. She did not provide details of her ailment.
Bahari has consistently said the assault and battery case against her is fake, and Tehran was targeting her for supporting an opposition politician and violating traditional values by taking part in beauty pageants and speaking for women’s rights.
In January, she appeared at a pageant carrying a picture of Reza Pahlavi, an Iranian opposition leader and founder of the National Council of Iran.
“I have used his photo in a beauty pageant and the Iranian government are angry with me,” Bahari said, adding: “If I am deported to Iran, they will give me at least 25 years in jail, if they do not kill me.”
Tehran has not commented on Bahari’s statements. 
Bahari said last week that she had traveled to the Philippines after a vacation in Dubai, where she did not encounter any problems with immigration authorities, adding that she was surprised when she was intercepted at the airport in Manila and informed that she was on an Interpol list.
Bahari said her lawyer “had checked all records in the Philippines and with Interpol,” but there was no record against her.
The beauty queen has denied committing any crimes in Iran, or in the Philippines where she has been studying dentistry since 2014.
The Philippines Department of Justice (DoJ) Undersecretary and spokesperson Mark Perete said in a statement last week that Bahari remained in custody at the airport and “could not be sent back to Iran because she has filed an application for asylum.”
The DoJ would resolve her asylum application “in due time,” Perete added.