A newly minted U.S. secretary of state and a new U.N. Secretary-General. You might have thought they would sit down for a chin wag in no time. No, we're talking about Donald Trump's secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.
Last month, State Department staffers recommended the two diplomats take a break during G-20 ministerial meetings in Bonn, Germany, to talk, according to two diplomatic sources briefed on the matter. Tillerson passed on the meeting, deferring to President Donald Trump’s U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, to take the lead in handling the administration’s dealings with the U.N. chief. He also missed a high-level meeting that Guterres attended. The U.N.’s own efforts to secure a face-to-face meeting or a phone conversation through the U.S. mission to the U.N. also haven’t borne fruit.
Generations of previous U.S. secretaries of state have sought to cultivate close ties with U.N. leaders to help rally international backing for U.S. foreign-policy goals. U.N. special envoys are at the center of peace efforts in trouble spots from Libya to Syria and Yemen, places where the United States has vital interests in ensuring stability.
“The U.N. is everywhere,” said Bathsheba Crocker, who served as assistant secretary of state during former President Barack Obama’s administration. “Having a relationship and learning how you are going to mutually help each other and support each other seems like something that every administration would want to try to do.”
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