UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- The United States is catching up on its UN dues arrears, having recently paid 563 million U.S. dollars to finish off what it owed on last year's bill and a partial payment for this year, a UN spokesman said on Monday.

"The United States paid off last year's debt and some of this year's, paying 563 million U.S. dollars in the last few weeks," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told a regular press briefing.

The United States still owes 491 million dollars for its dues for the 2019 regular budget, he told Xinhua after the briefing.

The spokesman said at the briefing that 138 of the 193 UN member states have so far paid their 2019 regular budget dues in full. "We are very thankful," he said.

As comparison, statistics provided by the UN General Assembly Committee on Contributions showed that 149 member countries had paid their assessed dues in full by the end of November 2018.

The U.S. payment has brought the UN cash flow back in the black after months of crisis. Austerity measures were introduced, such as curtailing traveling and other expenses, including even shutting down some escalators in the New York headquarters complex.