UNITED NATIONS (PA) – The new US Ambassador to the United Nations on Monday urged the international community to “step up pressure” on the Burmese military to restore democracy at a large press conference where she also said she hoped to work with Russia and China on some key issues.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who arrived at the UN last Thursday, firmly reiterated President Joe Biden’s determination to re-engage with the world and make the United States once again a nation that leads.
Speaking on the first day of the US presidency of the Security Council in March, she referred to a number of other global hot spots, saying the Biden administration was “disappointed” that Iran had started restricting inspections international nuclear facilities last week.
“We think this is an opportunity that they really lost and we hope they will reconsider it,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield said Biden made it clear “that Iran will never achieve nuclear weapons,” and also made it clear that if Iran resumes “full compliance” with the 2015 nuclear deal which the Former President Donald Trump has stepped down, “the United States is ready to do the same.
Tehran rejected an invitation from the European Union to join a meeting with the United States and other original participants in the agreement
As for North Korea, which faced increasingly severe Security Council sanctions before Trump’s efforts to get the country’s leader Kim Jong Un to pledge to give details failed. On ridding the country of nuclear weapons, Thomas-Greenfield said the North remains a global threat to the international community. peace and security.
The United States has “a vital interest in trying to dissuade North Korea from achieving this goal”, in defending itself against its provocations or using force, and most importantly “in ensuring the safety of the American people and our people. allies, ”she said. The Biden administration is reviewing US policy towards North Korea and will continue to push for the country’s denuclearization, she said.
In the Middle East, Thomas-Greenfield called the humanitarian situation in conflict-torn Yemen “heartbreaking” and said the US flagship event during his council presidency will be on “famine and hunger. induced by the conflict in Yemen and Ethiopia ”on 11 March. .
On the February 1 coup in Myanmar and the ongoing military crackdown on protesters, Thomas-Greenfield reiterated US support for the people of Myanmar, saying, “We stand firmly on their side.
“We need to step up the pressure,” she said, not only in New York but internationally to pressure the military to quash the coup and restore the democratically elected government.
On February 4, the Security Council adopted a press release strongly supporting the return to democracy in Myanmar and calling for the immediate release of detainees, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won overwhelmingly the November elections in the country.
Thomas-Greenfield said the council plans to hold talks on Myanmar this month, “as soon as possible.”
“It is clear that the world is watching the situation in Burma,” she said, using the country’s old name, “and it is clear that we cannot stand still and watch people continue to be brutalized. and their human rights destroyed.
Last week, Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Dmitri Polyansky, said “the red carpet” would be rolled out for Thomas-Greenfield and that Moscow was ready to work with the Biden administration – but “there is it takes two to tango ”.
Thomas-Greenfield said on Monday she met Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia last Friday and looked forward to working with him.
“We have our differences,” she says. “But we also have areas in which we hope to cooperate with the Russians, especially as we work together in the Security Council to bring peace, prosperity and security to the world. It is incumbent upon us to find ways to find common ground. “
During the US Senate hearing on her appointment, Thomas-Greenfield described China as “a strategic adversary” that threatens the world, and called a mistake a speech she gave in 2019 that praised the initiatives of China in Africa but made no mention of its human rights violations. . The speech drew sharp criticism from some Republicans who voted against her saying they feared she was lenient with China.
Asked Monday about US-China relations, she said she also met Beijing Ambassador Zhang Jun and called it “very complex.”
“There will be areas where we disagree, especially when it comes to human rights,” Thomas-Greenfield said, “but there are areas where … we hope to work with the Chinese of cooperative manner “, in particular on climate change.
“But as we contemplate the evolution of our relationship … we will never give up diplomacy to try to achieve our ultimate goals, which is to put values and transparency into the functioning of the United Nations.” , and we hope we can work with the Chinese to improve that, ”she said.