NEW YORK (Sep. 24)
The U.S. has withheld $5 million in funds for a United Nations program following a request from Rep. Bill Green (R.NY), the legislator’s office here reported. Green, in a letter dated Aug. 12 to Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, recommended that the U.S. reconsider its funding to the UN because the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) director, Mostafa Tolba, prevented on Israeli firm from being the contractor on a major construction project.
The Israeli firm had submitted the lowest bid on a proposed $23 million UNEP headquarters complex in Nairobi, Kenya, but “under pressure from Arab and African states,” Green said, “Mr. Tolba simply threw out the bids,” and plans on revamping the project specifications.
According to the State Department, it warned UNEP that U.S. support was “in jeopardy” and then on Aug. 22 it called its representative in Nairobi and ordered him to advise UNEP that the U.S. $5 million contribution to UNEP for the second half of 1980 has been indefinitely deferred.
The State Department, in a letter to Green, said it is now awaiting Tolba’s report on the project to the UN General Assembly. “It would be absurd to give money and have it used unfairly and against the best interests of the U.S. and our ally Israel.” Green said.