The United Nations (U.N.) Security Council authorized or maintained 33 peacekeeping operations in 28 countries between fiscal years 1996 and 2001. Fifteen operations were ongoing as of January 2002. Although U.N. member countries are directly assessed for the cost of these operations, some countries, including the United States, implement programs or activities that provide indirect support to peacekeeping operations. The United States directly contributed an estimated $3.45 billion to support U.N. peacekeeping from fiscal years 1996 through 2001. U.S. contributions that indirectly benefited U.N. peacekeeping are estimated at $24.2 billion during this period. GAO defined indirect contributions as U.S. programs and activities that are located in the same area as an ongoing U.N. peacekeeping operation, have objectives that help the peacekeeping operation achieve its mandated objectives, and are not an official part of the U.N. operation.
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