September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
William B. Wood Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Committee on Appropriations U.S. House of Representatives; March 14, 2002

Statement for the Record Testimony by William B. Wood Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Bureau of International Organization Affairs Before the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, State and the Judiciary Committee on Appropriations U.S. House of Representatives March 14, 2002

Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, it is an honor for me to appear before you today, together with Ambassador Negroponte, our distinguished U.S. Representative to the United Nations in New York. We are here together to testify in support of the President's FY 2003 request for funds to pay our annual assessed contributions to international organizations and for UN assessed peacekeeping activities. As events since September 11 continue to demonstrate, these organizations and activities deserve our support more than ever.

When Assistant Secretary Welch and Ambassador Cunningham appeared before this same committee last year, the focus of their remarks was largely on management issues: on reforming UN peacekeeping, on reducing our arrears, and on our efforts generally to move a complex UN system in the direction of greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

More than a year later, and more than six months since the terrorist attacks against us of last September, our national interest in lean, effective UN operations, including peacekeeping operations, is unchanged. We can report progress toward a number of these management goals, but our foreign policy attention has clearly shifted. As Secretary Powell put it last week before this same committee, our two overriding foreign policy objectives are now to win the war on terror and to protect American citizens, both at home and abroad. One of the ways we can do both is through our continued active participation in and support for the United Nations and other international organizations.

On September 12, the United Nations began a process to change the international community's orientation toward terrorism, so that it is no longer a tragic but accepted part of international life, but something we agree to act together to do something about. General Assembly Resolution 56/1, the first of the new session, adopted on September 12, specified that not just the perpetrators of terrorism, but also its supporters must be held accountable. That same day, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1368, also calling for accountability for perpetrators and supporters and, for the first time ever, classifying every act of international terrorism as a threat to international peace and security.

Sixteen days later, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1373. As President Bush said in his address to the UN General Assembly, by adopting Security Council Resolution 1373, the United Nations defined for all nations the most basic obligations in the new conflict against terrorism.

UNSCR 1373 obligates all UN member states to use their domestic laws and courts to keep terrorists from sheltering resources or finding safe haven anywhere in the world and to cooperate in investigating, prosecuting, and preventing terrorism wherever it may spring up. The UN Security Council is monitoring compliance with the requirements of this resolution, with impressive results: to date 142 countries have issued orders freezing the assets of suspected terrorists and terrorist organizations; accounts totaling almost $105 million have been blocked - $34 million in the U.S. and over twice that amount in other countries. Overall, Resolution 1373 has been the framework for unprecedented international consultation and coordination against terrorism, including the provision of technical assistance to governments that want to do the right thing, but may not have the specialized expertise necessary.

The UN effort to combat terrorism is not confined to New York, however. Last month the International Civil Aviation Organization hosted in Montreal a ministerial-level meeting to develop new international procedures, including hardening of cockpit doors and stricter flight crew security techniques, to safeguard civilian aviation from terrorist threats. The International Maritime Organization, in consultation with the U.S. Coast Guard, is developing initiatives for tighter merchant ship security, stiffer licensing requirements for port security officers, enhanced procedures for port-of-origin container inspections, and accelerating an "automatic identification system" for ships at sea. The Universal Postal Union (which at U.S. urging recently has taken important steps to re-balance the relationship between national postal authorities and private deliverers such as Federal Express and United Parcel Service) is working hard on strategies to counter the threat of toxic substances transmitted through the mails.

But the UN has not only taken steps to end the threat of international terrorism generally. It also has taken focused steps, both before and after September 11, to block the threat posed by the Taliban regime of Afghanistan and the Al-Qa'ida network it supported. Indeed, the range of tools the UN can bring to bear can be seen in its approach to Afghanistan over the last several years.

As early as November 1999, the Security Council imposed sanctions on the Taliban (UNSCR 1267) after they refused to surrender Usama Bin Laden. Later, in January 2001, the Council added additional sanctions, including an arms embargo, an international freeze on Bin Laden's assets, the closure of Taliban and Afghan Ariana Airline offices, and other measures -- all in response to the Taliban's refusal to close down terrorist training camps.

During the same period, UN humanitarian workers from the World Food Program were attempting to mitigate Taliban restrictions against women by giving them work in its bakeries, which fed literally thousands of needy Afghan citizens. That effort ramped up dramatically as this winter set in, and the World Food Program can be proud of its success in helping avert widespread starvation. Even during the height of the fighting, in November, thousands of children throughout Afghanistan received vaccinations against polio and other diseases from health workers trained by the World Health Organization, using medicines supplied by UNICEF. United States public health systems, when first faced with the anthrax threat, also turned to the World Health Organization for information on its potential consequences. And the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has switched its emphasis from assisting literally millions of displaced Afghans to helping increasing numbers to return home in safety and dignity.

As the situation stabilizes, the UN Development Program, which has established a trust fund to assist the Afghan Interim Authority, is working hard -- with the World Bank, bilateral donors and others, to help the Afghans organize their government and move toward restoration of their civilian economy and institutions.

U.S. military action, which brought to a swift end the Taliban regime, is being complemented by the UN's actions to quickly put in place a temporary government in Kabul. Lakhdar Brahimi, the Special Representative of the Secretary General, has taken the lead, including at the successful Bonn Conference, in bringing representative Afghan leaders together to form the Afghan Interim Authority, which includes two women ministers. Currently, UN efforts are focused on the convening of a "Loya Jirga" assembly of Afghan leaders and on the subsequent formation of a transitional and representative Afghan government.

But civilian governance and economic reconstruction will not be possible without security. In December the Security Council authorized action by the International Security Assistance Force - ISAF, under British leadership, to assist Afghans in reestablishing civil order in Kabul. The ISAF is not a UN peacekeeping mission, and its costs are not assessed to UN member states.

The UN system is also active in countering other international threats.

In the face of the continuing threat posed to international security by the Iraqi regime, the UN has in place a unique framework, which couples the largest humanitarian program ever established, the Oil for Food Program, with the most comprehensive set of economic sanctions ever imposed on any nation. Very soon, we hope to put in place a new, more rigorous inspection regime. The Security Council's Office of the Iraq Program that administers humanitarian aid to Iraq; UNMOVIC; and the Compensation Commission that distributes Iraqi assets to the victims of its aggression -- all are funded from proceeds from Iraqi oil, without assessment to UN member states.

Our bottom line is that Iraq must meet all of its obligations, as spelled out in the Security Council's resolutions. There is international consensus that Iraq has not done so to date. We are working hard to translate that consensus into tougher, more focused controls, while improving the situation of the Iraqi people. The Iraqi regime is frustrated by the constraints placed upon its quest to rebuild its military and its ability to threaten its neighbors as they have done in the past. We are committed to seeing that it never can.

Not all threats are military. Rome is where the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization sets quality and safety standards that help protect American consumers and facilitate U.S. food and other agricultural exports. The FAO is also a center for the science-based approach to biotechnology, which the U.S. has strongly endorsed, both for the nutrition and trade benefits it can produce, and for its special relevance to assist developing nations. I am pleased to note that President Bush recently announced his intention to nominate your colleague, Congressman Tony Hall, as U.S. representative to the FAO and the other UN agencies dealing with agricultural issues and programs to alleviate world hunger.

I've mentioned only a few of the 43 agencies we currently support by dues paid from the "Contributions to International Organizations" account. That account also pays the U.S. contribution to the Organization of American States, which is taking the lead in promoting political reconciliation in Haiti and counter-terrorism efforts in our hemisphere, as well as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Other agencies - including the World Intellectual Property Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other regional bodies such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Organization for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) - contribute in unique and important ways to advancing U.S. national interests and the well being of Americans.

In response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, surely the greatest public health threat facing the world today, the UN General Assembly convened in special session last summer for UN agencies, high-level national delegations and NGOs from around the world to meet and plan strategy. The UN is now coordinating follow up on all of the commitments made during last summer's UNGA special session.

American values were central to the founding of the United Nations, and the UN today remains an important mechanism for defending American values in the world, values such as democracy, human rights, and free markets. Possibly the world's best-known venue for debating our common heritage of values is the UN's Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. This commission -- and its network of appointed "rapporteurs" -- remains an important world forum for addressing and advancing the cause of human rights. We are currently consulting with other members of the "Western European and Others Group" (WEOG) on substantive issues to be addressed at the next session, later this month.

On the business side, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is actively promoting positive values through his "UN Global Compact with Business" initiative, to engage private sector leaders worldwide in support of human rights, the elimination of slave and child labor, free trade unions, and environmental protection.

The administration has asked for the Senate to approve, on an urgent basis, two UN "Optional Protocols" to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, one to keep children away from armed conflicts and the other to protect them from sexual exploitation. Support for the Optional Protocols in no way implies support for the underlying convention.

By supporting and, where appropriate, participating in UN peacekeeping, the U.S. can share with other nations the heavy burden of preventing, containing and resolving conflicts around the world, effectively leverage our diplomatic, financial, military power in several ways:

Security Council authorization provides international legitimacy, centralized organization, and international cost sharing. Security Council authorization makes it easier for other nations to contribute the bulk of the troops on the ground. Currently, the United States provides only 35 out of the total 39,500 military personnel deployed in UN peacekeeping operations. This translates to a "multiplier" on our investment of over 1,000 to 1. Overall, UN peacekeeping missions advance US interests by preventing conflicts, restoring peace and strengthening regional security generally.

Some important examples:

In Sierra Leone, the UN mission - UNAMSIL - has disarmed over 45,000 rebel and militia fighters, and largely brought the war to an end. Elections are scheduled for this May.

In East Timor, three missions authorized by the Security Council have organized the referendum on independence (UNAMET), restored stability after violence broke out (INTERFET), and administered the territory as it prepared for independence (UNTAET). UN peacekeepers, civilian police, and civilian administrators are now beginning to turn their jobs over to East Timorese as a new constituent assembly prepares for independence in May.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UN peacekeepers are bolstering a fragile political process. Although there is still a long way to go, disengagement of foreign forces and their verified withdrawal to defensive positions has been an important accomplishment. We will continue to watch the situation carefully both to ensure that no genuine chance for durable peace is overlooked, and that false hopes do not lead to unnecessary risks to peacekeepers or expense to member states. In Eritrea and Ethiopia, the UN mission, UNMEE, has overseen a successful disengagement of forces. A UN commission will soon determine a new, internationally recognized border between these two nations.

In Kosovo, a new president has been elected and a new cabinet confirmed following elections conducted in November by a UN mission, UNMIK. Although the troop contributors to the KFOR coalition of the willing, including the U.S., bear the costs of their military deployment, the UN funds a few military observers, more than 4,500 civilian police, and a civilian staff to administer Kosovo in cooperation with the local authorities. UNMIK is currently overseeing a weapons amnesty program to encourage Kosovars to turn in illegal firearms and ammunition without fear of punishment.

Budget Figures

As noted, although some of my remarks have covered UN activities covered by voluntary contributions, we are here today to testify on behalf of the President's FY 2003 request for funds to pay our annual assessed contributions to the UN and over forty other international organizations, and for UN assessed peacekeeping activities.

Now to the numbers.

We are requesting $891,378,000 for the Contributions to International Organizations account, an amount which, consistent with statutory restrictions, would enable us to pay in full our annual assessed contributions to all forty-three international organizations funded through this appropriation. This includes the UN and organizations in the UN system, plus others, such as NATO, OECD, APEC and the Inter-American organizations.

This total reflects the downward revisions in our dues, or "scales of assessment" at several of these organizations, in line with the reduction in our dues at the UN as called for in the Helms-Biden legislation and voted by the General Assembly in December 2000. We are continuing to press all the organizations to which we belong to maintain no-growth budgets, improve effectiveness, and set priorities.

Our assessed share of the central UN's total budget for 2003 has risen slightly (to $279.3 million) as the UN's own budget has increased (to $2.625 billion), but this increase is less than inflation, and it includes funding for important new initiatives supported by the U.S., including better security for UN personnel and enhanced headquarters support for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

I should note here that the new UN budgeting process incorporates a "results-based" approach strongly supported by the U.S. Also, we are encouraged by Secretary General Annan's new initiative to improve UN efficiency and effectiveness without increased staff or financial resources.

For the Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account, we are requesting $726 million to fund our projected assessments to eleven UN peacekeeping missions and a portion of the costs of two war crimes tribunals. These eleven missions do not include the two missions expected to be completed, i.e. UNMIBH (Bosnia) and UNMOP (Prevlaka - also in the Balkans) and the two missions funded from the UN regular budget, i.e. UNTSO (Middle East) and UNMOGIP (Kashmir). As previously noted, only a tiny fraction of the more than 39,500 UN military peacekeepers currently deployed are American. Of the approximately 7,500 civilian police deployed overseas by the UN, less than ten percent are U.S.

Our peacekeeping request includes:

$273,226,000 for the UN Observer Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC),

$145,803,000 for the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL),

$96,534,000 for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK),

$58,177,000 for the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), and

$55,594,000 for the UN mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

To echo Secretary Powell's testimony before this committee last week, we seek your support to hold down the growth of arrears to the UN for peacekeeping. An important part of our strategy to do this is to have the current 25 percent "cap" on assessed peacekeeping payments lifted, effective on the date that the new rates took effect, January 1, 2001. Our budget estimates incorporate the new rate, although, of course, we cannot obligate that money without new legislation being enacted. We have carried forward the $78 million that lifting the cap would have cost last year, so no new funds are needed to pay the FY 2001 portion. But until the cap is lifted, we will continue to accumulate arrears equal to the difference between 25 percent and our rate of assessment for peacekeeping.

By the way, the recent decision of Switzerland to become the 190th member of the UN should help spread the financing of UN peacekeeping, as well as the regular UN budget, over a broader base. We won't know by how much until they actually join the UN, probably late this year.

I want to emphasize that the United States critically reviews every proposal for a new or enlarged UN peacekeeping mission. We analyze and weigh carefully the potential value of the mission to U.S. interests. We look to see whether proposed new or enlarged missions have clearly defined goals and a realistic exit strategy. We only support new or expanded missions when we judge the prospects for success in carrying out the proposed mandate to be reasonable and achievable. We are pleased to continue our monthly briefings for the staffs of this committee and of the House of Representatives' International Relations Committee on all aspects of UN peacekeeping. We believe that these exchanges have improved communications, minimized surprises, and broadened our perspective as we approach difficult policy decisions.

These missions are often complex, dangerous and difficult. In our efforts to support UN reform, we have studied and agree with many of the recommendations to improve operations of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) contained in the 2000 report of the Brahimi Commission.

These recommendations focus on improving support to DPKO's headquarters to enhance its ability to plan, monitor, and implement the wide variety of UN peacekeeping missions around the world. DPKO will never be for the UN what the Joint Staff is for the United States, but we believe that current plans to strengthen DPKO's headquarters should significantly improve its overall ability to manage the UN's peacekeeping missions effectively. We also applaud the presence of auditors from the UN's Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) in all of the large peacekeeping missions.

I would also like to remind the committee that we remain fully committed to working for fair and proportionate representation of American citizens throughout the UN system. We were pleased to see that an American will continue to head the World Food Program, that another American has been selected for an Assistant Secretary General position in UNDP, and another to be Under Secretary General of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

In closing, I would like to reiterate that our investment in the United Nations and other international organizations provides us with an effective mechanism to help maintain international peace and security, coordinate international action, act collectively in response to common problems, and advance our common human values.

Thank you very much.

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