US President Donald Trump made his debut at the United Nations on Monday, with an address on UN reform as a week of intense diplomacy kicks off, dominated by worries about North Korea, Iran and Myanmar.
Trump, who once disparaged the world body as a “club” for “people to get together, talk and have a good time,” will lay out his views on how to improve the United Nations a day before he makes his first address to the General Assembly.
About 130 world leaders are attending this year’s global gathering, but all eyes will be on Trump, whose “America First” agenda has alarmed both allies and foes.
The UN’s number one financial backer, the United States has threatened deep cuts to UN funding that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said would create an “unsolvable problem” for the world body.
Guterres, who is pushing for an overhaul of the UN bureaucracy, will also address the event at which leaders will sign a pledge of support for reform.
France and Russia have reacted coolly to the US initiative, amid concerns that the US administration is focused more on cost-cutting than improving the UN’s performance.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley was a driving force behind a $600-million-dollar cut to the UN peacekeeping budget this year.
Haley on Friday pointed to the more than 120 countries that back the US-drafted political declaration on UN reform as a “miraculous number,” showing there is support for a “massive reform package” led by Guterres.