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UN Agrees To Cut Budget

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pledged to "cut fat" from the UN budget.
The 193 member countries of the United Nations General Assembly have agreed to cut the world organization's budget -- for just the second time in the past 50 years.

Under an accord reached on December 24, the UN's two-year 2012-13 budget was set at $5.15 billion -- down from $5.41 billion in 2010-11.

That represents a cut of about 5 percent.

Reports say the United States, which pays more than 20 percent of the UN budget, and debt-hit European countries had supported imposing cuts, while developing countries had called for previous spending levels to be maintained.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the accord, but acknowledged that the negotiations were "especially difficult," because "governments and people everywhere are struggling" with economic hardship.

Ban pledged more budget decreases in the future, saying the UN must "cut fat."

U.S. negotiator Joseph Torsella said the accord marks "the first time since 1998 -- and only the second time in the last 50 years -- that the UN regular budget has declined in comparison to the previous budget's actual expenses."

compiled from agency reports