News World Donald Trump uses debut UN speech to criticise the global body

Donald Trump uses debut UN speech to criticise the global body

Donald Trump UN
Donald Trump wants to 'make the United Nations freat - not again'. Photo: EPA
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US President Donald Trump used his long-awaited UN debut to criticise the world body, saying it’s time to “make the United Nations great – not again”.

The statement, reminiscent of his oft-repeated election slogan “Make America great again”, came as the President told UN member states to take a “bold stand” to change the body’s business-as-usual approach rather than “be beholden to ways of the past which are not working”.

Mr Trump has been a harsh critic of the UN, and with world leaders and foreign ministers, including Australia’s Julie Bishop, looking on inside the UN’s packed Economic and Social Council Chamber the President did not soften his words on Monday morning (AEST).

Mr Trump endorsed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ plan to reform the world body.

“In recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement,” Mr Trump said.

“While the United Nations on a regular budget has increased by 140 per cent, and its staff has more than doubled since 2000, we are not seeing the results in line with this investment.

“But I know that under the secretary-general, that’s changing and it’s changing fast.”

Mr Guterres responded by agreeing that excessive red tape kept him up at night.

“Someone out to undermine the UN could not have come up with a better way to do it than by imposing some of the rules we have created ourselves,” the Portuguese diplomat said.

Mr Trump also complained that the US was “not seeing results in line with US investment”.

The US contributes about 22 per cent the UN budget and, under pressure from the Trump administration, the body has already cut its budget by more than US$500 million (A$628 million).

The President will deliver his main address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday local time.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is scheduled to make her address on behalf of Australia on Friday.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would traditionally make the annual trip to New York, but with the citizenship controversy hanging over Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce he decided to stay in Australia.

Ms Bishop is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings on Monday with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter and Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Yuval Rotem.

Mr Trump on Tuesday will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, French President Emmanuel Macron of France and in the evening attend a working dinner with Latin American leaders.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley introduced Mr Trump to the UN on Monday, telling the chamber the President “has a businessman’s eye for seeing potential and he sees great potential” not just in the reform movement, but in the UN itself.

Ms Haley, talking up his business acumen, appeared to take Mr Trump off script at the top of his remarks and led to a boast about one of his nearby buildings.

“I actually saw great potential right across the street, to be honest with you, and it was only for the reason that the United Nations was here that that turned out to be such a successful project,” Mr Trump said.

In the past, Mr Trump has criticised the UN for everything from its perceived lack of purpose to its decor.

– With AAP