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Deal reached on cuts to UN peacekeeping: diplomat

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United Nations (United States) (AFP)

A tentative deal on nearly $600 million in cuts to the UN peacekeeping budget has been reached following weeks of tough negotiations over US demands for a sharp cost reduction, a Security Council diplomat said Wednesday.

The United Nations will spend $7.3 billion on peacekeeping in the coming year, down from the current $7.87 billion, said the diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The United States, the biggest financial contributor to the peacekeeping budget, had sought a nearly $1 billion cut to the bill.

Hardest-hit by the cuts will be the UN missions in Sudan's troubled region of Darfur and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the two costliest operations with budgets that run over $1 billion.

The diplomat said however that there were "cuts across the board" in peacekeeping as a result of US pressure to scale back the budget.

Washington pays 28.5 percent of the $7.9 billion budget for peacekeeping and 22 percent of the UN's core budget of $5.4 billion.

The deal is expected to be approved by the UN General Assembly on Friday, when the annual budget for peacekeeping runs out.

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