November 13, 1998

The Organization of American States ended its 25th Special General Assembly session Friday calling on member countries to pay up their quotas as soon as possible. The Assembly also approved the Organization’s $88 million budget for 1999.

The decision on quota payments was taken after a working group of all the delegations considered a proposal put up by the Delegation of Canada on the matter. The resolution calls on OAS member countries in arrears on their quota payments to the Regular Fund to make their payments as soon as possible.

It also authorizes member states to draw up a schedule for paying off arrears and instructs the OAS General Secretariat to make the necessary arrangements with the governments to restore the situation to normality.

It was also the Assembly’s observation that in view of the mandates being handed the Organization, arrears or other cash-flow problems of the Regular Fund should not be allowed to paralyze or affect the work of the OAS.

The OAS secretary general, CÚsar Gaviria, had asked the countries on Thursday to pay quotas that have been outstanding for five years, which totaled $57 million. "Without these quota payments being made in a timely manner and without any ease of the constant reduction of our income, renewal programs and the ability to meet the mandates will run into serious problems," he said.

The Special General Assembly session was chaired by United States ambassador, Victor Marrero, who called on the member country delegations to move ahead with the reform and revitalization of the Organization.

The Assembly also established a set of general budget provisions, to which permanent observers to make contributions they could make, towards financing for the Regular Fund of the Budget. It also instructed the Secretary General to submit a draft program-budget for the year 2000, in consultation with the Permanent Council in keeping with the mandates of the Organization.