Samantha Power urges Trump and Republicans not to cut UN funds

US ambassador Samantha Power spent her final press conference urging President-Elect Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans not to cut off funding to the United Nations.

Following the Obama administration’s decision to abstain from a Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements, thereby allowing it to pass on a 14–0 vote, senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) introduced legislation in Congress that would halt US payments to the UN.

But Power, who has one week left in office before she steps down, warned that cutting funding would be “extremely detrimental to US interests.” The US share of the UN’s regular budget for 2015 was 22 percent.

“We lead the world in part by leading at the UN,” she said, adding that countries like China and Russia would step in to fill the void if the US takes a step down from its leadership role.

Still, she acknowledged the “structural deficiencies” of the UN, with its 193 members, many of which are not democracies and Russia along with China continually exercising their veto powers at the Security Council.

Power also categorically denied the accusations from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that President Barack Obama and his cabinet had pushed for the Israeli settlement vote.

“It is just absolutely false that the United States was the driving force behind this resolution,” she said.

However, the Obama administration is clearly pushing for a framework that would keep the hope of renewed negotiations on a two-state solution alive, even as President-Elect Trump has promised “things will be different after Jan. 20” with regards to the UN.

“If people keep saying the two-state solution is dead, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Power said.

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