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Tension between two main U.N. bodies

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The U.N. General Assembly is holding discussions with the Security Council over which of the two bodies should deal with peacekeeping scandals.

"There is obviously a lot of tension right now between the General Assembly and other organs about who has the lead in dealing with certain issues here at the United Nations," Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said Friday.

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The disagreement is about which of the two bodies should handle accusations of procurement fraud and sexual exploitation involving U.N. peacekeeping operation missions.

While the council has scheduled two meetings next week to discuss the matters, several assembly members said it is a matter which should be on their agenda.

They have appealed to the assembly president, Jan Eliasson of Sweden, for the need of member states "to stop any attempt to shift the issues under the agenda of the assembly to the Security Council."

Eliasson told reporters Friday he shares concern of these countries and that he is having discussions with Ambassador John Bolton of the United States, this month's president of the council, about which of the bodies should handle it.

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"I don't think we are trying to take over the work of the General Assembly at all," Bolton told reporters, adding the matters "have legitimate equities" for both bodies and encourages the assembly to openly discuss them.

"It is important for the council and it is particularly important for the United States, which pays 27 per cent of the cost for peacekeeping operations, to make sure that they are run efficiently and up to the highest standards," he said.

Dujarric said, "I think that whether you contribute $1 or $100 million you have the right to expect that your money is well spent and not wasted."

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