January 26th, 2009
02:45 PM ET
11 months ago

Obama U.N. ambassador outlines goals

Dr. Susan Rice, new U.S. ambassador to the U.N., met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon Monday.
Dr. Susan Rice, new U.S. ambassador to the U.N., met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon Monday.

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) - President Barack Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, arrived for her first day on the job Monday calling the U.N. a "great institution" but saying there is "room for improvement."

Watch: Rice vows cooperation

Rice presented her credentials to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at U.N. headquarters in New York Monday morning. She said the two then spoke for 45 minutes, discussing a wide range of international issues, including the situations in Sudan and the Middle East.

After meeting with Ban, Rice spoke to reporters in front of the U.N. Security Council chambers, laying out several key issues that the Obama administration hopes to accomplish at the United Nations: Strengthening the capacity to engage in complex peace operations, advancing U.S. and "collective" interest on climate change and nuclear proliferation, and putting the United States at the center of poverty reduction and fighting disease, cornerstones of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.

On the issue of U.S.-Iranian relations, Rice expressed concern about the "threat of Iran's nuclear program" and emphasized that vigorous diplomacy and dialogue must go hand in hand with a direct message from the international community that Iran's nuclear program must come to an end.

Rice said the United States is prepared for direct diplomacy with Iran, along with supporting the stalled, multilateral efforts of Western European powers, Russia, and China with Tehran.

On the Middle East, Ambassador Rice reiterated Obama's expression of "grave concern" about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, which will be discussed in the Security Council on Tuesday. Rice emphasized the U.S. position on conflict between Hamas and Israel, calling for a durable cease-fire.

Rice, an African affairs expert, also addressed the conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan, expressing deep concern about the "ongoing genocide" there.

She said U.S. attention will be focused on protecting civilians in Darfur, and the United States will effectively support the work of UNAMID, the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur. That deployment is currently dramatically underfunded and under-supported by U.N. member states, despite repeated calls by Ban for more material support.


Filed under: President Obama • Susan Rice
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Helene

    Bravo. Everyday I hear something more that I love in this administration. Keep going President Obama !

    January 26, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Mike

    800 Billion more of taxpayer money to fight Global Poverty. We all know where that money will end up.

    January 26, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. Baze

    I hate when people say that there's room for improvement. Like you can't say that about everything all the time.

    January 26, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Ian

    I wonder what else they have in mind besides bombing civilians in Afghanastan.

    January 26, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. person

    Rice, you better work your magic fast!

    January 26, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. Dont blame me

    Boy, is she niave to think that the U.N. a "great institution".

    I think that we are all in a heap of trouble.

    January 26, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. IndyVoter

    Go Susan! Make us proud!

    January 26, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. Al, atheist from California

    Finally, after eight long years, we have a competent government administration.

    January 26, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Susan Rice Who?

    Wow.....just about 2/3 of America could have made that statement, so what's the big deal.

    Susan Rice is less qualified than many other candidates out there....she just got the job because she sucks up to Obama.

    January 26, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. Susan Rice Who?

    Wow.....just about 2/3 of America could have made that statement, so what's the big deal.

    Susan Rice is less qualified than many other candidates out there....she just got the job because she ...... up to Obama.

    January 26, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Shari, NY

    What a coincidence! Another Rice (Condoleeza) was there only a few days ago and has now faded into oblivion. We shall see how Mr. Obama's delegation fares. Good luck to her!

    January 26, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Laverne

    Dr. Rice is a beautiful and smart lady. I am sure the guys will enjoy working with her.

    January 26, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. susants

    Sounds like the President has set great goals for the US in the US.

    January 26, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Spirit of America

    Stop US aid to Israel.

    January 26, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  15. Bev

    Obama better tread very, very carefully before he starts his political maneuvering on the Middle East issues. For decades both Democrats and Republicans have been dealing with this issue...since Jimmy Carter mucked it up in the 70s. If Obama thinks he can just saunter into the Middle East and be a hero he might find his honeymoon is over...and in a hurry.

    January 26, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Jasmine in Germany

    Susan Rice is a great choice for this position. I'm very pleased.

    January 26, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. Jon in CA

    The article states,

    "Rice expressed concern about the "threat of Iran's nuclear program" and emphasized that vigorous diplomacy and dialogue must go hand in hand with a direct message from the international community that Iran's nuclear program must come to an end. "

    Vigorous Diplomacy?? And what is the plan, Dr Rice, when Ahkmadinejad tells you to shove it? More hand-wringing??

    Glad we're going to take the Clintonian hands-off approach which puts us at a greater risk of terrorist attacks. I'm counting on a major rebound of Defense company stocks after the next attack on US soil.

    January 26, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  18. Joe, Boston

    It is so refreshing to see new people in charge of our foreign policy. What a relief!!!

    January 26, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Ray Ray

    Ahh another "Friend of Obama" given a cushy job. Gee, I wonder if she has any illegal alien relatives where Obama could get the paperwork "fixed" like he did his auntie.

    I can't wait until the Magic Messiah gets roundly ignored by Iran.

    January 26, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Bill Charlotte, NC

    A breath of fresh air..............

    January 26, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. gregory james

    mr o will be fine and so will the usa please have a bit of faith

    January 26, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Briana the college student

    Mike it's better than 800 Billion dollars for a pointless war.

    January 26, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. gregory james

    he will do a good job sir ....

    January 26, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. GA for Obama

    Bev- I am an American Musli, so I know better than you, Jimmy Carter ACTUALLY MADE IT BETTER

    January 26, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Matt

    @ Ray Ray

    You'll be waiting a long LONG time for Obama to get ignored by Iran...seeing as how President Amhadinejad already broke precedent by sending a congratulatory letter to Obama upon his election as POTUS. Wishful thinking isn't going to help the GOP "my friend," only a lot of soul searching and some serious behavioral modification.

    January 26, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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