White House objects to UN calling US 'deadbeat'
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House objected Thursday to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's description of the United States as a "deadbeat" donor to the world body.
Ban used the phrase Wednesday during a private meeting with lawmakers at the Capitol, one day after he met with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Ban's "word choice was unfortunate," given that the U.S. is the largest contributor to the United Nations.
The United States pays 22 percent of the organization's nearly $5 billion operating budget but is perennially late paying its dues.
Asked whether Ban should retract his comment, Gibbs said some recognition by Ban of the U.S. role would be appropriate.
"I think given the contribution that the American taxpayer makes, I do think it would be appropriate to acknowledge that role," Gibbs told reporters at his daily briefing.
Ban, apparently concerned about his choice of words, issued a statement late Wednesday saying the U.S. "generously supports the work of the U.N., both in assessed and voluntary contributions." Ban also said he enjoys "an excellent working relationship with the United States and appreciates the many ways that it supports the United Nations."
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