UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations could be asked to move its headquarters out of New York within two years if the new Republican-dominated Congress has its way.

According to independent sources, the world body and its 193 member states contribute over $3.3 billion a year to New York City in revenues, besides providing lucrative jobs to thousands of American citizens.

But a Republican-propos­ed House bill has quietly slipped past the public radar. It proposes that the United States withdraw its membership from the United Nations. Almost simultaneously, another bill was being drafted to cut US funding to the body.

The bill was quietly introduced on Jan 3 and passed on to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. If approved, the bill will take two years to take effect. It will also repeal the United Nations Participation Act of 1945, signed in the aftermath of WWII.

The bill, proposed by Congressman Mike Rogers, a Republican from Alab­ama, is entitled “Ameri­can Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2017”. It seeks a complete US withdrawal from the UN, moving of its headquarters from New York and an end to cooperation with the World Health Organisation as well.

Rogers and other prominent Republicans have repeatedly said that US taxpayer money should not go to an organisation that does not promote US interests — especially one that does not stand up for Israel together with the US.

The new document is merely the latest manifestation of sentiment that has been brewing for some time.

(A similar move by the former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani in 1990s was rebuffed. At that time Giuliani objected to the presence of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the UN General Assembly .

“The President shall terminate all membership by the United States in the United Nations in any organ, specialised agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body of the United Nations...The United States Mission to the United Nations is closed. Any remaining functions of such office shall not be carried out, “according of HR 193.

The bill would also prohibit “the authorization of funds for the US assessed or voluntary contribution to the UN,” which would also include any military or peacekeeping expenditure, the use of the US military by the UN, and the loss of “diplomatic immunity for UN officers or employees” on US soil.

Rogers had tried to get the same bill passed in 2015, albeit unsuccessfully, according to a report.

“Why should the American taxpayer bankroll an international organisation that works against America’s interests around the world?”

Rogers asked at the time in defense of his idea.

“The time is now to restore and protect American sovereignty and get out of the United Nations.”

Another supporter of HR 193, Senator Rend Paul also put it like this in January 2015: “I dislike paying for something that two-bit Third World countries with no freedom attack us and complain about the United States… There’s a lot of reasons why I don’t like the UN, and I think I’d be happy to dissolve it,” added the Kentucky senator.

Later, in June 2015, Rogers had introduced his document — then named HR 1205, but essentially the same US Exit idea he’s proposing now.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2017