Debts incurred by U.N. missions and individual diplomats total some $5.3 million, and this situation cannot be allowed to continue, a U.N. committee was told Friday.
"Some missions have not paid rent on their office space for two years or more," Ambassador Victor Marrero of the United States said."A number of residential landlords have either already lost their property or are at risk of losing it because diplomatic tenants who cannot be evicted will neither pay their rent nor leave the property."
As a result, it was becoming increasingly difficult for diplomats to obtain private leases in New York, Marrero told the U.N. committee on relations with the host country.
"This situation cannot be allowed to continue. It is not fair to the people who extend credit and provide services but are unable to obtain payment, nor to seek legal relief when the governments involved invoke immunity."
Although the problem was caused by a few, it gave the entire diplomatic community a bad name, Marrero added.