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Think twice before making UN irrelevant, EU Ambassador tells US

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Andrew Burton | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The U.S. must think twice before pulling funding from the United Nations (UN) and sending the interngovernmental organization into irrelevance, the EU ambassador to the UN said on Friday.

Pointing to his experience as a former ambassador to the U.S., João Vale de Almeida, described the current debate in Washington D.C. surrounding the future of the country's commitment to the UN as only the starting point.

"Congress will have a lot to say. There are voices in Congress that have different views from the administration on this. The debate is on, it's a legitimate debate, a democratic one which we respect," Vale de Almeida told CNBC's Squawk Box on Friday, speaking from the German Marshall Fund's Brussels Forum.

"Our message to the Americans is to say: Think twice before making the UN irrelevant by defunding it," he added.

Far from painting the ongoing debate as unequivocally negative, the ambassador said he believed that the American budgetary procedure would generate positive ideas to make the UN a more efficient and effective place.

"We have new threats, new challenges, new actors…in a world like this I don't think any single country alone, in isolation, can find solutions to all these problems. We need a multilateral solution," the Portuguese diplomat argued.

The UN finds itself at a difficult juncture given increasing accusations of its lack of suitability for purpose in today's world. However, Vale de Almeida expressed his faith in the new Secretary-General, fellow Portuguese national, António Guterres, appointed last October.

"The UN is certainly entering a new cycle and I believe it is a positive one…certainly the UN needs reform and the new Secretary-General is a reform-minded Secretary-General," he attested.

Rejecting the contention that the EU's influence may dwindle once Britain departs, the ambassador highlighted that the bloc was and will remain once of the biggest sources of financial support for the UN, fulfilling a role as a key trading partner as well as supplier of developmental and humanitarian aid.

"We are already contributing a lot," Vale de Almeida claimed before expanding on the EU's vision for the intergovernmental body.

"We want to make the UN relevant, fit for purpose and useful in addressing some of the most complex issues in today's world," he concluded.

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