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.
Bravo. Everyday I hear something more that I love in this administration. Keep going President Obama !
800 Billion more of taxpayer money to fight Global Poverty. We all know where that money will end up.
I hate when people say that there's room for improvement. Like you can't say that about everything all the time.
I wonder what else they have in mind besides bombing civilians in Afghanastan.
Rice, you better work your magic fast!
Boy, is she niave to think that the U.N. a "great institution".
I think that we are all in a heap of trouble.
Go Susan! Make us proud!
Finally, after eight long years, we have a competent government administration.
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.
Susan Rice is less qualified than many other candidates out there....she just got the job because she ...... up to Obama.
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!
Dr. Rice is a beautiful and smart lady. I am sure the guys will enjoy working with her.
Sounds like the President has set great goals for the US in the US.
Stop US aid to Israel.
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.
Susan Rice is a great choice for this position. I'm very pleased.
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.
It is so refreshing to see new people in charge of our foreign policy. What a relief!!!
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.
A breath of fresh air..............
mr o will be fine and so will the usa please have a bit of faith
Mike it's better than 800 Billion dollars for a pointless war.
he will do a good job sir ....
Bev- I am an American Musli, so I know better than you, Jimmy Carter ACTUALLY MADE IT BETTER
@ 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.