Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama, UN chief discuss world issues

US President Barack Obama on Friday called UN chief Ban Ki-moon to review a host of world issues, including the global economic crisis, climate change and food security, the world body and the White House said.

The two leaders also discussed the resolution of regional crises, particularly those in the Middle East and Africa, as well as ongoing efforts at UN reforms and the world body's "need for adequate political support and funding," a UN statement said.

It added that Ban was "encouraged by the US president's assurance of strong support as the organisation makes further progress in this direction," and noted that the two leaders "looked forward to mutual visits."

A White House statement meanwhile said Obama "underscored his commitment to a strong US-UN relationship and an effective UN working with us to fight climate change, poverty and terrorism."

The US leader also "voiced support for the UN's assistance mission in Iraq and his hope that the mission will expand this year and enjoy the continued leadership of the current special representative (Staffan de Mistura)."

Obama and Ban mulled ways in which the United Nations might undertake "additional management reforms to improve (the) efficiency and efficacy of the organisation in dealing with international problems," the White House said.

The UN said Ban also had a "very cordial conversation" with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on food security, the stalled peace process in Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region, climate change and UN management reform.

Clinton stressed the importance of "working together with the UN in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq" and she and Ban discussed "greater cooperation in UN reform and budgetary issues as well as mutual visits," it added.


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