United Nations: The new US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, pledged on Friday to overhaul the world body and warned US allies that if they do not support Washington, then she is “taking names” and will respond.
Haley made brief remarks to reporters as she arrived at the world body’s headquarters in New York to present her credentials to UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres.
“Our goal with the administration is to show value at the UN and the way that we’ll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure that our allies have our back as well,” Haley said.
“For those that don’t have our back, we’re taking names, we will make points to respond to that accordingly,” added Republican President Donald Trump’s UN envoy.
Haley, who was South Carolina’s Republican governor when Trump picked her for the post, has little foreign policy and no US federal government experience.
French UN ambassador Francois Delattre and UK UN ambassador Matthew Rycroft said they looked forward to working with Haley. The US, UK and France, along with Russia and China, are permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council.
After her meeting with Guterres, a US official said they had “a good and productive conversation about ways they can work together to reform the UN”
Haley told reporters, “Everything that’s working, we’re going to make it better, everything that’s not working we’re going to try and fix, and anything that seems to be obsolete and not necessary we’re going to do away with.”
According to a draft executive order published by The Daily Beast, Trump wants a committee – including his secretary of state, attorney general and director of national intelligence – to carry out a one-year review of US funding to international organisations with the aim of almost halving voluntary funding.
A senior US administration official said on Friday that no such executive order was “expected at this time.”
The US is the largest contributor to the UN, paying 22% of the $5.4 billion core UN budget and 28% of the $7.9 billion UN peacekeeping budget. These are assessed contributions – agreed by the UN General Assembly – and not voluntary payments.
UN agencies, such as the UN Development Programme, the children’s agency UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the UN Population Fund, are funded voluntarily.
Last year, Trump took to Twitter to disparage the 193-member world body after the US abstained in a December 23 UN Security Council vote, allowing the adoption of a resolution demanding an end to settlement building by US ally Israel.
Trump, who had called on President Barack Obama’s administration to veto the resolution, warned that “things will be different” at the UN after he took office on January 20.