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Trump to ‘slap’ foes, embrace friends in first UN speech: envoy

Donald Trump

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump will pummel foes and embrace friends in his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly next week, keeping the pressure on Washington’s adversaries North Korea and Iran, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Friday.

Briefing reporters ahead of the annual UN meeting, Haley and H.R. McMaster — the White House national security adviser — took a tough line on North Korea, warning that a military option to deal with its nuclear threats was available.

Trump will meet with leaders from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America throughout the week, but his remarks — scheduled for Tuesday morning — will be the president’s highest-profile opportunity to explain his foreign policy vision couched in his “America first” agenda.

“I personally think he slaps the right people, he hugs the right people, and he comes out with (the) US being very strong, in the end,” Haley, speaking at the White House, said of Trump’s speech.

Haley declined to say whether Trump would commit Washington to maintaining its current level of funding for the 193-nation body. Trump has complained that the United States funds 22 percent of the UN budget and nearly 30 percent of UN peacekeeping duties.

Trump will kick off the week with a meeting about UN reform on Monday. He will then have meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that will focus on Iran, McMaster said.

Trump has dinner scheduled with Latin American leaders.

On Tuesday, he will meet Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani — Qatar’s emir. Trump said last week he would be willing to mediate the worst dispute in decades between Qatar and US-allied Arab states.

On Wednesday, he will meet with leaders from Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, Britain, and Egypt, and on Thursday, there are talks scheduled with leaders from Turkey, Afghanistan, and Ukraine before holding a lunch with the leaders of South Korea and Japan.

McMaster said it was unlikely that Trump would speak to Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, whom the White House has sanctioned and called a dictator.

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