U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, participated in a series of meetings with top United Nations officials on Tuesday, May 28 at the organization's headquarters in New York City including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, United States Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Representative to the UN for UN Management and Reform Joseph Torsella, and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta.
The discussions with members of the U.S. delegation focused on how the UN is working to address global challenges -- including the ongoing conflict in Syria and continuing threats from Iran and North Korea -- as well as how the U.S. Mission to the UN (USUN) is advancing U.S. national security interests and values, rebuilding a strong basis for international cooperation to respond to 21st century threats. Ambassadors Rice and Torsella also updated Kaine on the U.S. Mission's reform agenda to improve the effectiveness of UN engagement around the world.
"My visit to the UN offered an important opportunity to learn more about the U.S. Mission's recent accomplishments, including support for the strongest sanctions ever against Iran and North Korea and a sustained defense of Israel," said Kaine. "As the Assad government continues to slaughter its own people in Syria, it's critical that we understand the role the UN can play in promoting a negotiated, peaceful and inclusive political transition."
Kaine recently voted in support of a Foreign Relations Committee measure to allow U.S. military assistance to vetted Syrian rebels, conditional on the opposition's commitment to an inclusive political transition.
In addition to the UN's role in the Syrian conflict and other global challenges, Kaine's meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon included a discussion of the UN's efforts to promote sustainable international development. As Chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Development, Kaine shared insights from a recent hearing on the importance of private sector investments and public-private partnerships to development efforts around the world.
Later this morning Kaine will join Ambassador Rice and the U.S. delegation at a UN Security Council Session on Countering the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The session will include a briefing on ongoing efforts to counter the armed militia group led by Joseph Kony that has terrorized central Africa for 24 years, as well as the adoption of a new mandate for the UN Interim Force for Abyei in Sudan.