Vote Buying at the UN

Votes on crucial resolutions at the UN General Assembly are being bought and sold like rags in a Baghdad bazaar, according to a report in the Toronto Star by veteran foreign correspondent. Mark Gayn. He said the votes are being bought by oil-rich Arab states from impoverished delegated from Third World countries who have difficulty maintaining themselves and their Missions in expensive New York City.

The going price, according to Gayn, runs from $6,000 to $8,000 for votes on important issues. He said that recently one ambassador sold his delegation’s vote for $500 while another’s price was $4,000. The purpose of vote-buying is to increase a majority, he noted. Trading votes for cash has grown with the increase in the UN’s membership.

Gayn stated that the home government usually shuts its eyes to the practices as long as it doesn’t run contrary to its won national interest. He said that one diplomat conceded the practice was common and an accepted fact of life at the UN. Gayn noted that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union is involved in buying votes.

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