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US funding cuts for UN provide opening for China, Russia

Tighter budget shows difficulty of Guterres' balancing act with Washington

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley pushed for the cuts to the UN budget.   © Reuters

UNITED NATIONS -- Secretary-General Antonio Guterres enters his second year as the U.N.'s leader in 2018 with a slimmer wallet due to U.S.-inspired budget cuts, part of a growing influence gap that America's rivals may be keen to exploit.

The U.N. adopted a $5.4 billion budget Sunday for the 2018-19 period after extensive negotiations, shaving about $286 million from the total for the previous two years. The final funding decision constitutes a cut of $193 million beyond what was expected for the two-year budget, Guterres' spokesman said in a statement Tuesday, and represents "across-the-board cuts in non-post resources for most departments and offices," referring to non-personnel expenses.

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