WASHINGTON (AP) _ President-elect
Barack Obama is urging the United Nations chief to embark on
"far-reaching reform" of the world organization to help it address
pressing global issues.
At the same time, in a telephone conversation Wednesday, Obama told
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that the United States "should
rededicate itself to the organization and to its mission," said Brook
Anderson, chief national security spokeswoman for the Obama transition
Last month, Ban called for greater cooperation from the United States.
Ban received the call from Obama just after the U.N. chief returned from a trip
"They discussed how to address current crises, as well as regional and global issues, and how to strengthen the partnership between the U.S. and the U.N.," spokeswoman Michele Montas said in a statement.
Obama spoke with Ban and four foreign leaders to express his appreciation for
their congratulatory messages after his election victory, the president-elect's
transition office said.
Meanwhile, a wide array of former top U.S. officials urged Obama on
Wednesday to make the U.N. a close partner in confronting global threats and
Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Warren
Christopher and former Defense Secretaries Harold Brown and William Perry were
among the signers of the statement issued by the U.N. Foundation and the
Partnership for a Secure America, a bipartisan foreign-policy advocacy group.
"The next president has a unique opportunity to revitalize the U.S.-U.N.
relationship as a symbol of America's
commitment to constructive international cooperation," the statement said.
Specific recommendations to the incoming Obama administration included leading
U.N. efforts to slow the spread of nuclear weapons and technology, and getting
the U.N. more involved in stabilizing Iraq
The Bush administration, particularly in the war in Iraq, was often accused of ignoring
or paying little attention to the U.N.
More than three dozen former officials urged Obama to improve relations with
the U.N. and to make an early statement expressing U.S. commitment to international
cooperation through the U.N. They included former national security advisers
Samuel Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent
Scowcroft and former U.N. ambassadors Albright, John Danforth, Donald McHenry
and Edward Perkins.
"We haven't seen this letter yet but look forward to receiving it."
During his presidential campaign, Obama said in a statement to the U.N.
Association of the U.S. and
the Better World Campaign that "no country has a greater stake in a strong
United Nations than the United
Obama said the U.S.
benefits from a global institution designed to advance the rule of law,
peaceful resolution of disputes and humanitarian efforts.
But there was also criticism in his statement.
Obama said "broken politics" at the U.N. leave the world body short
of its potential and also of the principles in the U.N. charter.
"All too often," he wrote, "U.N. member states use U.N.
processes as means to avoid action rather than a means to solve problems."
And, Obama said, U.N. member states acted far too slowly and indecisively to
end genocide in the Darfur area of Sudan.