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U.N. budget deliberations far from sober, envoy says

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 6:57 p.m.

UNITED NATIONS — The United States thinks the United Nations has a drinking problem.

Ambassador Joseph M. Torsella, who represents the nation on the U.N.'s budget committee, said that the tense process of negotiating the world body's annual budget is made more complicated by the number of diplomats who turn up drunk.

The U.N. budget is finalized in December, when holiday parties apparently lead to some revelry spilling over into budget negotiations.

The nation is making “the modest proposal that the negotiating rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone,” Torsella said during a private meeting of the budget committee. The U.S. mission released a transcript of his remarks.

Some tipsy negotiating partners have left the United States “truly grateful for the strategic opportunities,” he said.

But Torsella said the committee should “save the champagne for toasting the successful end of the session.”

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