WASHINGTON (Jan. 10)
The State Department has confirmed its view that the Soviet Union is legally obligated to pay its full share of the cost of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the Middle East. A spokesman said Friday “the United States has paid its full contribution for the period in question of $31,850,300. We believe other members are expected to pay their assessed contributions under the General Assembly resolutions setting up the finance mechanism for the force.”
The spokesman added “it is now up to the United Nations Secretary General to decide how to proceed.” The spokesman said he did not know whether the matter came up in Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s luncheon meeting Jan. 4 with Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin and Secretary of State-designate Cyrus Vance.
The issue arose when the Soviets decided not to pay their share of the cost, leading to speculation that the action was a warning to the Carter Administration that the USSR must be included in any new U.S.-sponsored peace initiative in the Middle East. The Soviet Union said in a brief note to the UN it was withholding about $4.4 million in contributions to the UN force policing the Israeli-Egyptian Sinai accord. The note said “The Soviet Union had nothing to do with this agreement, concluded on a separate basis and actually circumventing the Geneva peace conference” on the Middle East.