January 26th, 2009
02:45 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama U.N. ambassador outlines goals

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/26/art.riceshake0126.gi.jpg caption="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. Rob

    Gee, I don't know who as the head more in the clouds? Briana the college student, I'm sure the women of Iraq, who were basically Saddam's and his kids' play toys and bullet catchers, are glad you're such a champion of women's rights. Al, the atheist from California, who is just mad because we had a president who not only defended us but believed in God (hey Al, please send us a postcard from Hell). And Helene, who still is blinded by the glowing light which is Obama.

    The tyrants at the UN are just counting the days til the US rolls over on its back and lets everyone trounce all over us. And that day's a coming, and all you Obamaholics will have your false prophet to thank for that.

    January 26, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  2. Soccer Nana

    @ Ray Ray,

    President Obama will not get or be ignored by Iran or any other foreign country.

    You and your messiah rush limbaugh (the wannabees) are furious that you will NEVER be able to achieve what Barack Obama has achieved! LOL Don't be angry, drink more limbaugh, hannity, and coulter kool aid – you will still be an under achiever.

    January 26, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Steve (the real one)

    The UN is a US hating, one world government pushing organization! Nothing honorable about it at all. Didn't stop genecide in Africa, even under the leadership of an African: Kofi Annon!! Although it's charter is to stop wars, all the wan tto do is chastise countries like Israel who need to defend themselves! Worthless, absolutely worthless! Good luck Dr Rice!

    January 26, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. barack obama is still just B.O.

    Obama is making Bush look like a genius in only 1 week!
    He is working miracles!!!!

    January 26, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. No Hillary = No Obama


    January 26, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. Independent in DC

    Susan Rice is an extremely sharp individual. I wish her all the best. I think she will do one helluva job.

    January 26, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. Marc

    Yo Rob, besides calling people's name and making sad attempts of mockery about their opinions and beliefs... did you have any point that YOUR messiah (either he's Limbaugh or Hannity or Patterson or whoever else in that line) didn't ordered you to repeat?
    I mean, 'tyrants at the UN'? Really? 'False prophet'?
    And you want to be taken seriously?

    January 26, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. EC

    GREAT, get the broom and dust pan and let's get to cleaning house.

    January 26, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. EBC


    Where was your VOICED OBJECTIONS when your incompetent George W. Bush was hiring all his crooked cabinet positions and staffers for eight years? Get outta here with all this BS.


    January 26, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Hey Bev

    Carter is the only US President that's been able to forge lasting peace in the Middle East (between Israel and Egypt). Without that, there most certainly would be that much more instability in the region.

    Do you have any other bright comments, genius?

    January 26, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. laura

    Ray Ray January 26th, 2009 4:27 pm ET

    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.


    Ray Ray ... lets not forget Bush .. giving jobs to friends of a friend that was close friends with someones friend ... Brownie (FEMA ).... remember him buddy. ;op

    January 26, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Jackie in Dallas

    Sounds like the lady has her act together. I especially like the fact that there will be more attention drawn to the situation in Darfur, and other parts of the African continent (just in case Sarah is reading).

    The United Nations, which the United States played an integral part in creating, like all institutions, should always be changing. Rice is correct - there is room for improvement, just like there is room for improvement in all institutions. I doubt she is as naive as some of you posters have indicated...African studies would tend to dissolve naive beliefs pretty quick. Just reading some of the stories actually published horrifies me; women repeatedly raped by "militia" who are supposed to be protecting them, starvation because of being on the wrong side of a temporary border, AIDS/HIV epidemics, lack of medical care...the list is almost endless. She was, I believe, being diplomatic about the US' part in refusing to focus on the issues there, after we directly disregarded the UN Security Council vote against interfering in Iraq.

    January 26, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. Rob

    U. S. out of u.n. NOW !

    January 26, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Gene

    When I see stories like this.. I think of that movie where Chris Rock becomes the president.

    The republican motto: God Bless the USA, and nobody else.

    The democratic motto: God Bless the USA, and everybody else.

    Why do republicans/conservatives feel that we're alone in this world. Don't people understand that we're part of a larger world, and we exist in a global economy? When other countries fare well and work together, we do better too. It is not the time for the US to become isolated from the rest of the world... it's time for us to become a player in the world, to show leadership, and to work together.. not just blow up other places and say that's our international role.

    January 26, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Frank

    The only reason why Iran is open for discussion is because he knows the Obama administration does not have the guts to stand up to them!! Iran will demand and Obama will cave in.

    January 26, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  16. Diane M of Los Angeles, CA


    When O nominated Rice, she spoke like a leader during her acceptance speech.

    Rice's 1st day on the job, she speaks with the foresight of a leader.

    Now, let see if she can influence the United Nations to treat the ills of 3rd world countries by protecting basic human rights; persuading China to cease arming rebels; and supplying means and know-how for villagers to dig water wells and to cultivate the land and feed themselves;

    January 26, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. rusty

    Susan Rice is going to do a great job at the U.N.. I think she will represent the USA very well.

    January 26, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. Juan from L.A

    Idiot...why does she go there saying 'room for improvement'...that's the snobbiness and lack of humility hte past administration made us famous for...way to go genius on your 1st day of work!!! Way to go with making friends!

    January 26, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  19. Humored In Texas

    Personal to Susan Rice Who?:

    And Mike Brown got the FEMA job from Bush how and why?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    January 26, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  20. A Phd, a Univerisity Provost & Phd, a 4-Star General

    I can see a day when we have another Dr. Rice as Secretary of State.

    Funny how the vast majority of minorities in important diplomatic posts have had to be deeply credentialed.

    January 26, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  21. Ray Ray

    Soccer Nana and disillusioned lefties,

    Only the ignorant, uniformed, or grossly out-of-touch individuals believe because Obama has a muslim name that US enemies will retreat from their strongly held positions.

    You think Hamas is going to sponsor a "Hug an Israeli" day?

    You think loony-tunes Ahmadinejad is going to shut down Iran's nuclear program?

    You think Al Qaeda and fanatical muslims are going to suddenly suspend their wacked views are going to stop attacking US Soldiers?

    The only drunken fools are those clinging to their cult worship of their false messiah. Sorry – Obama can't cure the seas or fix broken souls as he and Michelle have promised.

    January 26, 2009 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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