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Secretary-General meets with US Congressional leaders

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is meeting today in Washington with leaders of the United States Congress on issues of mutual interest to the country and the world body.

Earlier today, he met with Senators Norm Coleman, Bill Nelson and George Voinovich, and held a discussion over lunch with Congressman Tom Lantos.

"These meetings focused on UN-US relations including funding, on UN reforms, on peacekeeping operations, on Darfur, Kosovo and Haiti," Mr. Ban's spokesperson told reporters in New York.

During his first visit to Washington soon after taking office in January, Mr. Ban called on the country's president, George W. Bush, as well as Congressional leaders to raise their spending cap on the UN peacekeeping budget, warning that if the limit remains then the work of individual operations may be hampered.

The Secretary-General observed that the Congressional cap means that the US, which is the UN's largest financial contributor, never funds more than 25 per cent of expenses for peacekeeping operations.

According to a scale of assessments agreed upon by UN Member States in 2000, the US is required to pay about 27 per cent.

Mr. Ban has meetings tentatively scheduled with other members of Congress, and will return to New York this evening to attend an awards ceremony.