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Mon 25 Jan 2016 10:37 AM

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Bahrain loses UN voting rights over unpaid fees

Gulf state among 15 countries who have fallen into arrears

Bahrain loses UN voting rights over unpaid fees
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. (Getty Images)

Bahrain has been named as one of 15 UN member countries to lose voting rights in the General Assembly after failing to pay its annual fees to the world body.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a letter released at the weekend the General Assembly can permit member states to vote "if it is satisfied that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member," according to a report by Associated Press.

Following a resolution passed by the assembly, five poor and conflict-ridden countries, including Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia and Yemen, have been allowed to continue to keep their voting rights until the end of the current session in September.

While Iran was included on the list of 15 countries, a UN spokesperson confirmed it paid its arrears at the weekend and its voting rights have been restored.

The news is particularly embarrassing for Venezuela as the Latin American country, which is suffering economically as a result of falling oil prices, is currently a member of the Security Council and is due to hold its rotating presidency from next month.

The report confirmed that Venezuela owed a minimum of $3 million, the Dominican Republic owed $2.1 million, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines owed $2,155, while Burundi owed $1,360.

The amounts owed by the five other countries, Bahrain, Libya, Mali, Marshall Islands and Vanuatu, have not yet been made public.