US threatens UN agency funds over Iraq report
CAIRO: The lead writer of a UN report on freedom and governance in the Arab world said on Saturday the United States was threatening to cut off funds to a UN agency if the United Nations releases it.
Nader Fergani, the Egyptian social scientist who has worked on the last three Arab Human Development Reports, told Reuters defying the United States could cost the UN Development Programme (UNDP) about $100 million a year. US officials have denied trying to delay or suppress the report, which was originally due to come out in October. But UN officials said parts are being rewritten after the United States and some Arab governments asked for changes. Fergani said the United States had already penalised UNDP by $12 million because it did not like the previous report. “My understanding is that this time they are threatening a much heavier penalty — the entire US contribution to the UNDP budget, or $100 million,” Fergani told Reuters.
Washington is unhappy, Fergani said, with sections in the report on the US occupation of Iraq and the activities of its ally Israel in the Palestinian territories. Asked what evidence he had, he said: “Of course there are no official documents. In cases like this, you don’t give your opponents something with which to fight back.” reuters