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Monday, November 29, 2004

Congress Eyes U.N. Fund Cut

CONGRESS EYES U.N. FUND CUT. (Via LGF)

November 29, 2004 -- WASHINGTON — Congress is likely to move to reduce U.S. funding of the United Nations if leaders at Turtle Bay don't come clean and institute major reforms in the wake of the Iraq oil-for-food scandal, The Post has learned.

Recent interviews with Congress members and staff investigators revealed growing shock and outrage at the scope of history's biggest financial scandal, in which Saddam Hussein is alleged to have ripped off $21.3 billion from a humanitarian program intended to provide food and medicine to the Iraqi people.

The officials said there is increasing sentiment to take drastic action, including cutting U.S funding if the United Nations doesn't make radical changes in its secretive policies and questionable management procedures.

The $1.12 billion annual U.S. contribution to the United Nations represents 22 percent of the world body's budget.

"This is life-and-death stuff. To see U.N. officials involved in a program that was used to pay off families of Palestinian suicide bombers, to discover that money from this program is now being used to fund the people killing our troops in Iraq is very troubling," Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) told The Post. "I definitely feel that people are fed up." Flake has sponsored legislation that would reduce U.S. funding to the United Nations by 10 percent, and claims the bill already has 75 co-sponsors. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate.

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