After scathing criticism of the UN, US President-elect Donald Trump spoke with Antonio Guterres, its new Secretary-General….writes Arul Louis
The Secretary-General’s deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters that Guterres called Trump and described it as an “introductory calla that “went quite well.”
Trump spokesperson Sean Spicer in answer to a question at his briefing about the criticism of the UN and moves in Congress to cut US contributions to it, said that as the biggest contributor to the UN budget, Washington can demand some “reforms and changes” to make it more efficient.
The US contributes about 22 percent of the UN’s budget and about 25 percent of its peacekeeping expenses.
Spicer did not give any specifics about their meeting and said that Trump will work with his UN Ambassador-designate Nikki Haley on the US agenda at the world body.
They discussed a number of issues and how the UN and the US can work together, Haq said. They will get into the specifics when they meet, he added.
He said that he did not think that the Paris agreement on climate change came up in their conversation. Trump has been sceptical about the Paris pact as well as about the UN version of climate change dangers.
Last month the Security Council passed a resolution critical of Israel and condemning the construction of settlements in occupied territories with the US refusing to veto it as it has in the past with resolutions criticising the strong ally of the US.
Trump attacked President Barack Obama for allowing the resolution to pass and said in a tweet, “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th,” the day he takes over as President.
Efforts have also started in the US Congress to cut funding to the UN as a fallout of the resolution.
In another tweet, Trump mocked the UN as a “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time.” But he also added, “The United Nations has such great potential.”
Last month Guterres told the Portuguese television channel SIC last month that he hoped to have an excellent working meeting with Trump and it was in his interest to meet him.
He also acknowledged that Washington was a major contributor to the UN and has a fundamental role in its activities.