New UN secretary general speaks with Trump by phone

Trump: UN not living up to its potential
Trump: UN not living up to its potential

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    Trump: UN not living up to its potential

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Trump: UN not living up to its potential 00:47

Story highlights

  • Trump has clashed with the UN on issues such as climate change and refugees
  • Streamlining the UN may be one point of agreement between Trump and Guterres

United Nations (CNN)President-elect Donald Trump spoke Wednesday morning with new UN secretary general Antonio Guterres by phone, a United Nations spokesman told CNN.

The secretary general said he is looking forward to engaging with the President-elect after the inauguration, according to deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, who described the introductory call as a "very positive discussion on US and UN relations."
Trump has expressed mixed views on the UN. After the UN Security Council's recent vote to to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the President-elect tweeted, "The United Nations has such great potential. But right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. Sad!"
Trump has also clashed with the UN on issues such as climate change and refugees.
The President-elect has suggested he would withdraw from the Paris Accords on climate change, calling the agreement, which is considered to be a major UN achievement, "a bad deal."
Trump's proposal to bar refugees from certain countries from entering the US was met with strong criticism from the UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein during the presidential campaign. He compared Trump to European right-wing leaders who are "the populists, demagogues and political fantasists."
Guterres, who called Trump on only his second day in office, said Tuesday he agreed with Trump on the potential of the organization.
Reforming and streamlining the UN may be one area the incoming US president and the UN secretary general can work together.
Guterres told the UN staff Tuesday that he wants to eliminate the 'straightjacket of bureaucracy" inside the UN system.
The US is by far the biggest financial donor to the UN, contributing over 20% of its annual budget.