Ban sure Trump will drop rhetoric, show lead­er­ship UN chief speaks with pres­i­dent-elect by phone

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

UN Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Ban Ki­moon voiced con­fi­dence on Fri­day that Don­ald Trump will shed the stri­dent rhetoric that pro­pelled him to the White House and en­gage with the world to con­front global crises like cli­mate change. Ban told AFP in an in­ter­view that he hopes to meet with the US pres­i­dent-elect in the com­ing weeks to ex­plain how the United Na­tions ex­pects the United States to “con­tinue to work for hu­man­ity”. Trump won the US pres­i­dency on a plat­form that calls for closer ties with Rus­sia, pulling out of the Paris cli­mate deal, shak­ing up se­cu­rity al­liances and ques­tion­ing US fund­ing of the United Na­tions.

“This is what he said dur­ing the cam­paign pe­riod, on the cam­paign trail,” Ban said in the in­ter­view at UN head­quar­ters where the Trump vic­tory has shocked world diplo­mats. “Now, post-elec­tion, when he cre­ates his tran­si­tion team with ex­perts and peo­ple with vi­sion and ex­per­tise, I am sure that the United States will con­tinue to play a lead­ing role,” he said. Ban spoke by phone with Trump on Fri­day af­ter­noon and the two men agreed to stay in contact, said a UN state­ment.

Wor­ry­ing State­ments

Ban, 72, is step­ping down on Dec 31 af­ter 10 years as the world’s diplo­mat-in-chief with the big­gest success of his ten­ure un­der threat: the Paris cli­mate agree­ment. Dur­ing his cam­paign, Trump de­scribed global warm­ing as a hoax in­vented by the Chi­nese, vow­ing to re­nege on US pledges to cut down green­house gas emis­sions and help finance the shift to a new green econ­omy world­wide. “He has made a lot of wor­ry­ing state­ments, but I am sure that he will un­der­stand the whole im­por­tance and se­ri­ous­ness and ur­gency,” he said. “The pres­i­dency may be im­por­tant, but hu­man­ity and all our lives and our planet Earth are eter­nal.”

Ban ar­gued that there was a strong con­sen­sus in the United States and across the world on the need to ad­dress global warm­ing, sug­gest­ing Trump would be reck­lessly out-of-sync if he scrapped the deal. “Now busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties are fully on board. Civil so­ci­ety mem­bers are fully on board. How can one change all this course? It’s a huge trend,” he said. “It will cre­ate se­ri­ous prob­lems if any­body wants to undo it, or un­ravel all this process.” The in­ter­view was Ban’s first full as­sess­ment of the impact of the Trump elec­toral vic­tory on global diplomacy.

The UN chief watched the elec­tion re­sults un­fold on Tues­day from his Man­hat­tan home and retired just as news chan­nels were be­gin­ning to pre­dict a Trump win. “I got up at 4:00 am and I found that the whole world had changed,” said Ban. He de­scribed the out­come as “quite a sur­prise”. He brushed aside the sug­ges­tion that the United States, by far the big­gest fi­nan­cial con­trib­u­tor to the United Na­tions, could cut fund­ing or side­step the world body in ad­dress­ing global is­sues. “I am not much wor­ried, much con­cerned about what has been talked (about) dur­ing the elec­toral process,” he said.

The for­mer South Korean for­eign min­is­ter was elected UN chief in 2006 with strong back­ing from the United States un­der the Repub­li­can pres­i­dency of Ge­orge W Bush. Ban ex­pressed grat­i­tude to Bush for agree­ing to UN-led talks on cli­mate change even though it was a long road to the Paris ac­cord reached in De­cem­ber last year and now signed by all 193 UN mem­ber­states.

While Trump has yet to out­line his poli­cies, Ban sought to down­play anx­i­ety over a new world or­der un­der his pres­i­dency, say­ing all US ad­min­is­tra­tions since the found­ing of the United Na­tions af­ter World War II have been com­mit­ted to core prin­ci­ples. “As I have seen in all many dif­fer­ent pres­i­den­cies,” Ban said, “there has not been much dif­fer­ence when it comes to real val­ues and prin­ci­ples for the United Na­tions char­ter - and for hu­man­ity.” — AFP

NEW YORK: United Na­tions Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon an­swers ques­tions dur­ing an in­ter­view with Agence France-Presse on Fri­day at the United Na­tions. — AFP

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