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Trump To Push For UN Reform Ahead Of General Assembly Debate

U.S. President Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump will seek to gather global support for reforming the United Nations when he hosts an event at UN headquarters in New York on September 18.

Trump, a frequent critic of the UN, will lay out his views on how to improve the world body a day before he makes his first address to the 193-member General Assembly, which holds its annual General Debate session on September 19-25.

He will be joined by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and leaders of 120 countries who have signed a draft declaration in support of reform.

Washington, the biggest UN financial contributor, has threatened deep funding cuts that Guterres has said would create an "unsolvable problem" for the organization.

In June, the General Assembly voted to cut $600 million from the organization's nearly $8 billion annual peacekeeping budget amid pressure from the Trump administration.

At the event on September 18, Trump "will express support for Secretary-General Guterres's reform efforts," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said at a briefing on September 15.

"The United Nations, of course, holds tremendous potential to realize its founding ideals, but only if it's run more efficiently and effectively," Sanders said.

Also on September 18, Trump is scheduled to hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as a "working dinner" with Latin American leaders.

France and Israel are "two of America's closest allies," Sanders said.

She said that while Trump's talks with Netanyahu and Macron "will be wide-ranging, we expect that Iran's destabilizing behavior, including its violation of the sovereignty of nations across the Middle East, to be a major focus."

Both Macron and Netanyahu were expected to raise the 2015 deal under which Iran has curbed its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief, with Macron making a case for keeping it alive and Netanyahu pushing for its demise.

On September 14, Trump repeated his charge that Iran is violating the "spirit" of the agreement.

About 130 world leaders will attend this year's General Assembly debate session.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters