UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Countries that approved a major reduction in U.S. payments to the United Nations said Friday that Washington still hasn't held up its end of the deal by paying its arrears.
The so-called Group of 77 developing countries say the delay is threatening anew U.S. credibility here while also contributing to another bleak financial picture for the organization this year.
The General Assembly agreed in December to reduce the American share of the U.N. regular and peacekeeping budget to meet U.S. demands that tied payment of $582 million in U.S. arrears to U.N. reform.
The Senate voted unanimously Feb. 7 to release the money. Action on a bill in the House, however, has not been so speedy.
Last week, a half-dozen U.S. lawmakers from both parties urged House speaker Denis Hastert to rush action on the bill, but his office said the legislation would take its usual course.
Deputy U.S. Ambassador Donald Hays, who helped negotiate the landmark reduction in U.S. dues, said he understood the frustration of U.N. members.
"I think that all of them would have liked to have seen this take place in January or February," Hays said in an interview. "But their expectations of our Congress coming back into session and putting this at the top of their agenda ... I think are a little unrealistic."
Hays said he expected House action in "a matter of weeks, not months."
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