February 22, 2013 (WASHINGTON) – The Sudanese government is again eligible to vote at the United Nations after being suspended for the accumulation of financial arrears.
- United Nations General Assembly (UN Photo)
On Friday, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) removed Sudan from the list of countries that were sanctioned under Article 19 of the charter which states that “a member state in arrears in the payment of its dues in an amount that equals or exceeds the contributions due for two preceding years can lose its vote in the general “assembly”.
Earlier this year, the UN disclosed that Sudan owes $1 million in arrears but to reinstate its voting rights needs to only pay $347,879.
Sudan’s ambassador to the UN, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, initially denied that his country was behind on payments, insisting they were current.
However, the foreign ministry in Sudan later acknowledged the country’s delinquent status, blaming the finance ministry over the suspension, which is the second since 2012.
An official at the finance ministry responding to the comments said they had other spending priorities and noted the country’s difficult economic situation. The two sides worked together to disburse the funds through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Sudan.
The deputy spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, Eduardo del Buey, told Sudan Tribune in an email earlier this month that they have been informed that a payment has been received by the UNDP office but has not yet reached the UN headquarters.
The head of the foreign relations committee in the Sudanese parliament, Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin, said the UN’s move to bar Sudan from voting was “politically motivated”.
His remarks drew rare criticism from the pro-government Sudan Vision newspaper which said that “it became [a] phenomena for our politicians to resort to conspiracy theory and its pretext to justify their damaging failures”.
Sudan lost three-quarters of its oil production when South Sudan became independent in July 2011, worsening an economic crisis as oil was the government’s main source of revenue, providing the cash flow to fund food imports and other basic items.
Last summer, the government launched a package of tough austerity measures, including scaling back fuel subsidies to close a fiscal gap, sparking short-lived protests.