Trump to ‘slap’ foes, embrace friends in first UN speech
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump will pummel foes and embrace friends in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly next week, keeping pressure on North Korea and Iran, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said on Friday.
Briefing reporters ahead of the annual UN meeting, Haley and White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster took a tough line on North Korea, warning that a military option to deal with its nuclear threats was available.
Trump will meet with leaders from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America throughout the week, but his remarks, scheduled for Tuesday morning, will be the president’s highest profile opportunity to explain his foreign policy vision couched in his “America first” agenda.
“I personally think he slaps the right people, he hugs the right people, and he comes out with (the) US being very strong, in the end,” Haley, speaking at the White House, said of Trump’s speech.
Haley declined to say whether Trump would commit Washington to maintaining its current level of funding for the 193-nation body. Trump has complained that the US funds 22 percent of the UN budget and nearly 30 percent of its peacekeeping duties.
Trump will kick off the week with a meeting about UN reform tomorrow. He will then have meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that will focus on Iran, McMaster said. Trump has dinner scheduled with Latin American leaders.
On Tuesday, he will meet Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. Trump said last week he would be willing to mediate the worst dispute in decades between Qatar and US-allied Arab states.
On Wednesday, he will meet with leaders from Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Britain and Egypt and on Thursday there are talks scheduled with leaders from Turkey, Afghanistan and Ukraine before holding a lunch with the leaders of South Korea and Japan.
McMaster said it was unlikely that Trump would speak to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, whom the White House has sanctioned and called a dictator.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster (right) joins US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley during a news briefing at the White House on Friday.