President Donald Trump praised the new leadership of the United Nations on Monday for promoting reform in the global body, often criticized for bloated bureaucracy, ineffectiveness, and scandal.
“The United Nations has not reached its full potential,” @POTUS says.
Trump and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres both ascended to their respective offices this year and have demanded change going into the 72nd United Nations General Assembly gathering this week.
During remarks Monday in New York at an event on reform attended by representatives of 120 of the 193-member U.N., Trump told Guterres “you have been fantastic” in promoting reforms.
The president specified changes to encourage more financial burden sharing, provide greater whistleblower protections for U.N. staff who report wrongdoing, streamline bureaucracy, and demand better-defined peacekeeping missions.
“I applaud the secretary-general for laying out a vision to reform the United Nations so that it better serves the people we all represent,” Trump said at the event, called “Reforming the United Nations: Management, Security and Development Meeting.”
Guterres, elected last year, assumed office Jan. 1. He was prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, where he ran on the Socialist Party ticket. He has been a staunch advocate for more countries to accept Syrian refugees.
Trump was scheduled to address the full U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.
In his brief remarks Monday, Trump said the U.N. was founded in 1945 on noble goals, such as affirming the dignity of every person, striving for international peace, and advancing humanitarian efforts around the world. Trump noted the U.N. bureaucracy has doubled since 2000.
“Yet in recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Trump said, adding, “But I know that under the secretary-general, that’s changing and it’s changing fast, and we’ve seen it.”
Trump, who long has opposed the United States’ carrying the bulk of the financial burden for U.N. projects, highlighted cost sharing as key.
“To honor the people of our nations, we must ensure that no one and no member state shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden, and that’s militarily or financially,” Trump said.
The U.N. must have accountability to succeed, Trump said.
“That’s why we commend the secretary-general and his call for the United Nations to focus more on people and less on bureaucracy,” Trump said of Guterres. “We seek a United Nations that regains the trust of the people around the world.”