U.S. president's first time at UN General Assembly shows lesser bite to bark

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-19 04:57:51|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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U.S. President Donald Trump (C, front) speaks at a high-level UN reform meeting at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 18, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley signaled on Monday that President Donald Trump may not be wielding as big a stick as some feared in his appearances at the UN's annual General Assembly debate.

In introducing Trump to a pre-debate Declaration of Support for UN Reform, she said that through Trump's "businessman's eye" for potential, "he sees great potential not just in this reform movement but in the United Nations itself. He shares your commitment to creating a more effective advocate for peace and human rights."

In a Tweet last December, Trump called the world organization, "just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!" He also had tweeted, "As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th," causing many observers to anticipate major changes in the United State's relationship with the world organization.

But Monday's U.S.-sponsored meeting indicated the change Washington is seeking is more inclusive, from within the organization, than singular pressure from the White House.

"The Declaration of Support for United Nations Reform began as a way to give momentum to Secretary-General (Antonio) Guterres' effort to bring greater efficiency, accountability and transparency to the United Nations," Haley said.

"We thought that having member states put their names on a document would help insure that these goals don't remain just words but become part of the culture of the UN," she said. "The response that we've had has been nothing short of fantastic, 128 nations have signed on to the declaration as of this morning and we are still counting. That is a super majority."

The ambassador also expressed gratitude to the declaration's co-hosts, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Slovakia, Thailand, United Kingdom and Uruguay, whose representatives flanked Guterres, Trump and Haley on the podium.

"The fact that so many are committed to seeing the UN succeed is gratifying," she said. "It is a sign not only that change is desperately needed but that it will be achieved. You are the reason that change is coming to the UN."

There have long been reform efforts at the United Nations and efforts to make the organization more efficient have moved nearer the forefront during the run-up to this year's General Assembly general debate.