The United Nation's 50th anniversary celebrations in New York (October 2224) were a time of reckoning. Member nations faced the stark reality of a financially straitened UN - a total of US $3.3 billion is owed by all countries but one, America being the biggest defaulter. Washington's arrears amount to US $11.4bllllon, or nearly a third of the UN's combined budget of US $4.5 billion. In an oblique but hard hitting attack on the US's failure to cough up its dues, British prime Minister John Major suggested that there should be no "representation without taxation."

Another point of concern was the unrepresentative nature of the Security Council. Heads ofthe smaller nations demanded a stronger voice in UN deliberations and a reduction in the veto rights of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Though US, Britain and France have given a call for the inclusion of Germany and Japan in the Council, poorer nations are far from happy. But this still excludes the South from what Zambia's President Frederick ChIluba termed the "sanctuary of the holy of holies."

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