NEW YORK - Guinea and Vanuatu had their ability to vote at the United Nations restored on Monday, having been denied the right at the beginning of the month over their failure to pay their dues to the world body, a UN spokeswoman said.
'The General Assembly took note that Guinea, Iran and Vanuatu have made the payments necessary to reduce their arrears below the amounts specified in Article 19 of the Charter,' U.N. spokeswoman Paulina Kubiak said.
'This means that they can resume voting in the General Assembly,' she said.
Under Article 19, any country can have their voting rights in the General Assembly suspended if their payment arrears are equal to or greater than the contribution due for the past two full years.
The payment Friday of more than $18 million by Iran, via an account in Seoul and most likely with the approval of the United States, which has imposed heavy financial sanctions on Tehran, had been announced at the end of last week by UN sources and confirmed by South Korea.
For their part, Guinea had to pay at least $40,000 and Vanuatu at least $194 to recover their right to vote.
Kubiak later added three other countries that lost their U.N. voting rights in early January had also recovered them after paying the minimum arrears required last week.
Those countries were Sudan, which had to pay about $300,000, Antigua and Barbuda, which owed some $37,000 and Congo-Brazzaville, with around $73,000 in arrears, said the spokeswoman.
On the other hand, Venezuela, which is facing a minimum payment of nearly $40 million, and Papua New Guinea, which must pay just over $13,000, remain deprived of the right to vote, according to the U.N.
They are the only two countries out of the 193 members of the United Nations that will not be able to participate in votes this year.