Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister declares country debt-free to the United Nations

NEW YORK – Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer announced on Wednesday, October 3 that Antigua and Barbuda has cleared all its arrears to the United Nations for the organization’s peacekeeping operations, international tribunals and capital master plan.

“My government inherited a UN debt in excess of US $250,000 from the previous administration for these key operations, including the UN peacekeeping operations in the CARICOM member State of Haiti, and our UN Mission has been making small but regular payments since 2004 in a sustained effort to reduce these arrears. We will no longer be included on any “name and shame” list of member States who are in arrears with their assessed contributions, and I would like to thank our UN Ambassador Dr. John Ashe for his efforts in this regard,” said the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Spencer and China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Yang Jie Chi

The Prime Minister also noted that over this period, his government had paid its outstanding membership dues to some of the other UN bodies to which Antigua and Barbuda belongs, such as the Group of Latin and American States and the Group of 77 & China.

“While it is true that ‘membership has its privileges,’” it is equally true that it comes with certain obligations. We have certainly benefited from our membership in the United Nations and we realize that in order to play our part fully we must be in good financial standing in the organization,” he said.

Since coming to power in 2004, the Spencer administration has been engaged in a sustained campaign to reduce the country’s indebtedness to various regional and international organizations to which Antigua and Barbuda belongs. These include the OECS, CARICOM, the WTO, PAHO, INTERPOL and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

“We still have some ways to go in terms of some of the treaty bodies to which we are in arrears, but my administration intends to, within its means, meet all its international obligations,” he said.

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