I’ve recently returned from Washington, DC, where I met with Rep. Grace Meng and staff members in the offices of Rep. Gregory Meeks, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Chuck Schumer about issues that may seem far from home, but are near and dear to core American values.
One of them is the vital importance of supporting United Nations peacekeeping operations, particularly in nations like the Central African Republic — a country teetering on the brink of genocide. UN peacekeepers are desperately needed there — and in other volatile and terror-plagued nations around the globe — to restore law and order and save countless lives.
Fortunately, the UN Security Council, with support from the United States, has approved a robust peacekeeping mission in CAR. But currently, the U.S. is in the red on its UN peacekeeping dues, and this year’s federal budget underfunds UN peacekeeping by $350 million. During our meeting, I urged Ms. Meng and, through their staff, the other legislators to address this growing concern and provide full support for peacekeeping funding.
I am not alone in this conviction — a recent bipartisan poll found that two-thirds of Americans support full and timely payment of UN dues, including for peacekeeping operations. That includes Americans like me and hundreds of others who traveled to Washington for the annual meeting of the United Nations Association of the USA, an organization dedicated to informing, inspiring, and mobilizing the American people to support the ideals and work of the UN.
As our representatives consider the fiscal year 2015 spending bill, we must fully fund all peacekeeping needs, including this newest mission in CAR.