US envoy warns against cutting funding to UN

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UNITED NATIONS, Jan 14 (APP): U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power has made a strong case against cutting funds to the United Nations, warning that this would be detrimental to American interests.
The warning by Ambassador Power comes a day after two US senators introduced legislation to withdraw funding for the UN over last months resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction on the occupied Palestinian territories.
“We lead the world in part by leading at the UN,” Power said Friday, adding, “countries like Russia and China” would benefit “if there’s less US leadership at the UN.
“If we were to tie our hands behind our back, or to strip this organization of programming … this would be extremely detrimental to US interests,” she told during her last news conference.
The United States needs the UN, she argued. “The UN goes to places that the US will not go,” she noted, pointing to peace missions in Africa.
Power made the remarks after Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz on Thursday presented a bill, called the Safeguard Israel Act, which would cut off funding for the UN until the US president confirms the repeal of Security Council Resolution 2334 that called Israels settlements a violation of international law.
The US had vetoed similar measures in the past, but this time it abstained from the vote, allowing the resolution to be adopted.
Cruz said President Barack Obama “betrayed decades of robust bipartisan American support for Israel.
The Arab-drafted resolution was passed with 14 votes in favour and one abstention by the US on December 23.
The decision came despite significant pressure from the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in alliance with US President-elect Donald Trump, who personally intervened to keep the measure from coming up to a vote.
Trump said the resolution was a big loss for Israel, noting, it will make it much harder to negotiate peace.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Built on occupied land, the settlements are internationally condemned as illegal and equal to land grab.