Non-Paying Nations Send Heavy-Drinking Delegates to United Nations

(p. A20) UNITED NATIONS — When the United Nations began renovating its Manhattan headquarters in 2009, one of the first casualties of the construction was the storied Delegate’s Lounge, where for decades the delicate work of diplomacy was aided by a good stiff drink.
The loss of the bar led to protest from diplomats and their staffs, and a temporary outpost was soon established.
That bar is also now gone, but the thirst for liquor at the United Nations is apparently still strong.
This week, an American diplomat offered what he called a “modest proposal” that he hoped would speed along the United Nations’ notoriously protracted budgetary proceedings. He asked delegates to put a cork in it.
“The negotiation rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone,” the diplomat, Joseph M. Torsella, said.
. . .
The United States’ plea for sobriety was reported on the Web site of Foreign Policy magazine. The article cited anonymous diplomats saying that the most recent budget negotiations, which concluded in December, featured at least one delegate who became sick from too much alcohol.
. . .
The United States, Japan and western European countries provide the majority of the United Nations’ budget. And many of the dozens of countries that make up the committee that sets the budget have little financial stake in the negotiations, so partaking of alcohol may seem a good way to endure marathon sessions that can last well into the night.

For the full story, see:
MARC SANTORA. “Diplomat Calls for End to Drunkenness During Negotiations at United Nations.” The New York Times (Fri., March 8, 2013): A20.
(Note: the online version of the review has the date March 7, 2013 and has the title “Diplomat Calls for End to Drunkenness During U.N. Negotiations.”)
(Note: ellipses added.)

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