After failing to pay its membership dues for 2019, Lebanon has lost its right to vote at the United Nations General Assembly, the spokesman of the U.N. secretary-general Stephane Dujarric announced on Friday.
In the announcement, Dujarric mentioned Lebanon among "the 10 Member States that were in arrears and fall under the provisions of Article 19." Aside from Lebanon, these states are Central African Republic, Comoros, Gambia, Lesotho, Sao Tome, and Principe, Somalia, Tonga, Venezuela, and Yemen.
Article 19 states that the right to vote in the General Assembly of countries whose arrears are equal to or exceeding the value of the contribution required of them during the past two years is suspended.
This is the first time in history that Lebanon fails to pay its necessary contributions to the UN treasury.
For context, as a major journalist in the United Nations pointed out, less developed nations such as North Korea, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh have paid their memberships while Lebanon, a founding state of the UN, fell short.
The Lebanese Ministry of Foreign affairs released a statement on Friday commenting on the news.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants regrets the announcement by the United Nations that Lebanon is among the countries that are not entitled to participate in voting in the General Assembly because it has not paid the contributions due," the statement began.
The ministry confirmed that it has, on its part, "fulfilled all its duties and completed all transactions within the legal deadline, and conducted reviews more than once with the stakeholders without results."
In conclusion, it acknowledged that, regardless of who is responsible for the default, "Lebanon is affected by its interests, state prestige, and reputation, and hopes that the matter will be addressed as soon as possible because the matter can be corrected."
On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance said that it had not received any review or demand to pay any of the dues, "knowing that all contributions are independently scheduled annually to be paid according to the request of the concerned authority."
Moreover, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil instructed the caretaker government to pay the amount due on Monday morning.
Later on, Finance Ministry sources commented on the situation, blaming the Foreign Affairs Ministry, and calling it to "acknowledge its mistakes" and "admit its responsibility," as well as "initiate its treatment immediately on Monday."
وزارة المالية: لتقرأ مصادر وزارة الخارجية بيان وزارة المالية والجداول المرفقة، ولتعترف بخطئها وتتحمل المسؤولية ولتبادر الى معالجتها فوراً يوم الاثنين. ولتحاسب من نشر المراسلة الداخلية التي لا معنى ولا علاقة لها بالموضوع. #وزارة_المالية— Ali Hassan Khalil (@alihasankhalil) January 11, 2020
Moreover, Minister Ali Hassan Khalil published the relevant documents which prove that the ministry had done the work required on its part and is blameless in this situation. The blaming competition between the ministries continues as Lebanon's reputation in the international community suffers another major blow.
والمراسلة نفسها تجيب على الجزء الآخر حيث كيف تبرر المطالبة عن احالة في شهر ١٢ /٢٠١٩ في شهر ٧ /٢٠١٨وذلك تماما كما القرار الأول الموزع والذي لا صلة او علاقة لوزارة المالية بالموضوع المطروح. والجدول المرفق يبين الحوالات المنجزة والمدفوعة في وزارة المالية لجميع المساهمات دون استثناء pic.twitter.com/uVpaYyeZFG— Ali Hassan Khalil (@alihasankhalil) January 11, 2020