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Former Envoys Warn Budget Cuts Would Weaken U.S. Role At UN

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

Nine former U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations warn that planned cuts to the body's funding by President Donald Trump's administration could alienate allies and weaken Washington's influence.

In a letter to the U.S. Congress that was made public on April 25, the ambassadors said that the international organization iwas "imperfect" but argued that the United States could more effectively push through reforms by staying engaged.

"Nothing costs more than poverty and war," former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was among the signatories, said on Twitter.

Former President Barack Obama's UN envoy Samantha Power tweeted that defunding the organization would be a "classic example of cutting off nose to spite face."

"Withholding or slashing funding for the UN...weakens our hand, alienates allies whose support is critical to our reform priorities, undermines essential UN activities that promote core American interests and values, and costs us more over the long term," the letter reads.

"It also cedes the agenda to countries that can be hostile to our interests and more than willing to see the United States give up its seat at the table."

At a lunch with UN Security Council members on April 24, Trump said it was "unfair" that the United States paid for 28 percent of the UN's peacekeeping budget, and said the cost of the organization had "absolutely gone out of control."

Trump's proposed budget for 2018 would set a maximum U.S. contribution of 25 percent of peacekeeping costs.

The nine signatories, a mixture of Republicans and Democrats, also included Andrew Young, Donald McHenry, Thomas Pickering, Edward Perkins, Bill Richardson, John Negroponte, and Susan Rice.

With reporting by AP and AFP
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