U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, issued the following statement following reports that Iran will chair the upcoming Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations. Said Ros-Lehtinen:
"When the absurd at the UN becomes the norm it should be a clear indication that the objectives of that body have run afoul of its original intent and founding mission. Sadly, having Iran -- an international pariah state that is under UN sanctions for its illicit nuclear activities -- chair this year's Conference on Disarmament nears the top of the list of absurdities to come out of the UN in recent years.
"Allowing a U.S. designated state sponsor of terrorism that is itself under sanctions for its nuclear proliferation to chair a disarmament conference is another in a long string of incidents that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the UN has become a caricature of a caricature of itself. It is evident that common sense has become anathema at nearly every level within the UN, and its credibility has long since disappeared. To say it is long past due for the Administration to threaten to withhold our contributions to the UN as a means of leverage to compel reforms is an understatement.
"The U.S. must push for greater transparency, accountability and efficiency at the UN by forcing a fundamental change in the way in which it is funded. However the Administration continues to fail to act. That is why I am planning on reintroducing my bill from last Congress that would facilitate necessary reforms at the UN. Because to continue to send billions of hardworking American taxpayer money to the UN without calling for reforms is indefensible in our current economic situation; and even if we weren't in tough economic times, continuing to accept the mediocrity of the UN is irresponsible."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen was the author of H.R. 2829, the United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011, which requires the United Nations to switch its funding mechanism from an assessed basis to a voluntary basis. This legislation had over 140 cosponsors, and was marked up and reported favorably by the House Foreign Affairs Committee last Congress. This shift will empower the U.S. and other member-states to use their strongest leverage at the UN -- their monetary contributions -- to press for badly needed reform.