In "U.S. needs to pay U.N. dues," an article that appeared in your paper March 10, written by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, he stated that while meeting with President Clinton, he intended to press the president for the "$1.3 billion in back dues the United States owes the United Nations." In an AP article released the same day, Annan threatened to suspend U.S. voting rights in the General Assembly if the debt is not paid.

According to the General Accounting Office (GAO), during "U.N. operations"' between 1992-95, the United States spent the following: $2.2 billion, former Yugoslavia; $2.2 billion, Somalia; $1.6 billion, Haiti; and almost $600 million in Rwanda. Of course, we were promised by our U.N. brethren that we would be reimbursed fully through dues, credits and direct payment for our expenses. To date, we have received only $1.88 billion. Mr. Annan, you owe the U.S. taxpayers $4.7 billion. Although we are only one of many member nations, the U.S. is annually assessed 25 percent of the total U.N. budget. Considering these facts, Annan's threat is astonishingly brazen. It gets worse. Last week Annan informed our leaders that the United States would have to consult with the Security Council before launching any military strikes against Iraq.Mr. Secretary-General, let's see if we have this straight. If we pay annually 25 percent of the U.N.'s budget and provide the bulk of the military personnel and hardware for your operations at our own expense, you'll let us have a vote in the General Assembly and allow us to petition the Security Council for permission to take military action in our national interest. What a deal.

Mark E. Greer

Midway

John R. Gibbons

Highland