The U.N. peacekeeping forces, who received the Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday, could hand the nations of the world a bill for services rendered totaling nearly $1 billion in unpaid U.N. dues.

U.N. figures show the 159 member nations owe the world body $979.1 million in unpaid regular dues and peacekeeping assessments, with the United States being the chief deadbeat.On Friday, when U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar accepted the Nobel Prize award money in Oslo, Norway, on behalf of the more than half-million peacekeepers who have served the United Nations, he observed:

"In some ways it's embarrassing because it forces me to say publicly that the United States still owes the United Nations almost $350 million."

U.N. member nations owe the world body $450.1 million in regular dues; $360.1 million in dues for the Lebanon, Middle East and Iran-Iraq peacekeeping forces; and $168.9 million in unpaid contributions to the Cyprus peacekeeping force.

The Cyprus force is supposed to be financed through voluntary contributions the United Nations uses to reimburse the participating nations - Australia, Austria, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland and Sweden.