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New UN Chief Looks Forward to Working With Team Trump

By Lisa Schlein January 18, 2017

The new United Nations secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, says he will take a positive, constructive approach in dealing with the new Trump administration on the many troubling issues facing the world today.

Antonio Guterres has assumed his post as secretary-general of the United Nations at a time when this world body has hit a particularly low point among certain political circles in the United States.

But Guterres, a consummate politician and diplomat, brushes over recent negative comments and actions by vowing to engage constructively with the new American administration and find ways they can cooperate in a positive manner.

"I would pick what President Trump said that there is a lot of potential in the U.N. That is exactly what I think and that we need to work to reform the U.N. in order to make sure that that potential is fully met. There are obviously decisions of the Security Council in which the Secretary-General has no influence," said Guterres.

Guterres is referring to a recent proposal by Republican Senators Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas to cut off funds to the U.N. if the Security Council does not repeal a resolution it passed condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

"I will do my best to create the environment of dialogue and cooperation that will allow for all these problems to be effectively discussed if possible," said Guterres.

Secretary-General Guterres is open about the need to reform the United Nations. He says he is proud of the good work the U.N. has done over the past decades in humanitarian and peacekeeping actions. He acknowledges, though, what he calls the shortcomings and failures of the organization and vows to vigorously address them.

He says his priority is to make the U.N. more effective in addressing the dramatic multiplication of global conflicts. He says he will work to move the U.N. away from being a reactive organization to one that works to prevent conflicts before they erupt.

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