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Sudan pays $516K to regain UN voting rights

February 25, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government has paid $516,085 to the United Nations to reinstate its voting rights after being suspended over the accumulation of financial arrears.

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Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, Permanent Representative of the Sudan at the United Nations (UN Photo)

Deputy spokesperson for the secretary-general, Eduardo del Buey, confirmed the figure to Sudan Tribune on Monday after the funds were received at the UN’s headquarters in New York.

Sudan, which owes $1 million, needed to pay a minimum of $347,879 to regain its voting rights.

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday removed Sudan from the list of countries that were sanctioned for non-payment of their financial obligations.

It’s the second time that Sudan has had its voting rights suspended since 2012 for falling behind in its payments.

Under Article 19 of the UN charter “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”.

In comments made earlier this month, the head of the Foreign Relations Committee at the Sudanese parliament, Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin, claimed the UN’s decision to bar Sudan from voting as a result of the arrears was “politically motivated”.

He said the issue was the result of negligence by some government agencies and a lack of liquidity in possession of the finance ministry.

Sudan’s ambassador to the UN, Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, initially denied that his country was behind on payments, insisting they were up to date.

However, the foreign ministry in Sudan later acknowledged the country’s delinquent status, saying the situation was a temporary problem.

Payment of the arrears presented not only an economic problem for the cash-strapped Sudanese government, but a logistical headache as well, with US sanctions preventing the country from obtaining or maintaining a bank account in New York.

The funds were later disbursed through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Sudan before being transferred to the agency’s US headquarters.

Other countries sanctioned earlier this year along with Sudan included Cape Verde, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Grenada, Kyrgyzstan, Marshall Islands, Saint Lucia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

(ST)