Read (if you haven’t already) this article, How Corrupt Is the United Nations?, and then come back and read the front-page article in today’s NY Sun, U.N. Provokes a New Standoff Over U.S. Demands on Budget
WASHINGTON – The United Nations has provoked an America-versus-the-world standoff pitting Ambassador John Bolton against the remaining 190 U.N. member states over America’s effort to impose fiscal restraint on the $1.9 billion renovation of the world body’s headquarters.
According to observers at the United Nations and documents made available to The New York Sun, the United Nations’ Fifth Committee, the world body’s budgetary arm, is pushing to appropriate an additional $100.5 million for design work on the much criticized refurbishment project.
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The $100.5 million request for “design and preconstruction phases” of the Capital Master Plan, as the U.N. calls the project, comes on top of $33.1 million already spent and $51.3 million already appropriated for preconstruction work between 2001 and 2005, according to a November U.N. document.
It also comes before any signal that the United Nations has officially decided on one of the four strategies for refurbishment proposed in November by Secretary-General Annan.
Last year, its plans to house workers displaced by the renovation in a 35-story “swing space” tower built atop a neighboring city park were stymied by the New York State Legislature. Since then, the world body has been scrambling for other renovation options – including the possibility of renting hundreds of thousands of square feet of office space, or erecting a “swing space” building atop the North Lawn, a private park on the U.N.’s campus.
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America, Ms. Zobrist and other observers said, has requested that any appropriation for design work be capped at $23 million. America shoulders 22% of the U.N.’s operating costs, and has already offered loans of $1.2 billion, at increasingly favorable rates, for the renovation – loans the U.N. has so far declined to accept.
And they will not accept any caps: it’s the U.N., folks.
However, last year I suggested a new location for their “swing space”. After all, it’d go to the place where “The Americans brought nylon stockings, chewing gum and swing music”.