Guterres met Trump in the White House on Friday and, according to a readout provided by the UN Chief’s office, the two discussed the situation in the broader Middle East, the Korean Peninsula and the ongoing United Nations reform.
The Secretary-General also expressed his appreciation for the continued US engagement in the work of the United Nations.
Following the meeting, Trump, in a tweet, praised the UN Secretary General for his leadership at the UN, saying he was working to make the world body “great again,” using his campaign phrase of ‘Make America Great Again.’
“Just met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who is working hard to ‘Make the United Nations Great Again.’ When the UN does more to solve conflicts around the world, it means the U.S. has less to do and we save money. @NikkiHaley is doing a fantastic job!” Trump said in his tweet.
A readout of the meeting provided by the White House that the two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest, including North Korea, Syria, Iran, and reform of the United Nations. “The President reiterated his support for the Secretary-General’s efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the United Nations. The two committed to work together in the months ahead to address these and other common threats and challenges,” it said.
The relationship between the UN and Trump has been contentious as Trump has been very critical of the world body. His administration has pulled out of the landmark UN agreement — the Paris Climate deal, underscoring the rift between the US and UN.
As President-elect, Trump had tweeted that the United Nations has great potential “but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!” The US also negotiated a USD 285 million reduction of the UN budget for 2018-2019 compared to the budget for 2016-2017.
“The inefficiency and overspending of the United Nations are well known. We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked,” Haley had said following the announcement of the budget cuts last year.
“This historic reduction in spending in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN is a big step in the right direction. While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we’ll continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency while protecting our interests,” she had said.