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Trump says UN just a club for people to ‘have a good time’

Published: Tuesday, December 27, 2016 1:28 PM    |     Modified: Tuesday, December 27, 2016 1:28 PM

Days after the United Nations voted to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Donald Trump questioned its effectiveness Monday, saying it’s just a club for people to ‘have a good time.’ The president-elect wrote on Twitter that the UN has ‘such great potential,’ but it has become ‘just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!’ On Friday, Trump warned, ‘As to the UN, things will be different after January 20th,’ referring to the day he takes office. The decision by the Obama administration to abstain from Friday’s UN vote brushed aside Trump’s demands that the US exercise its veto and provided a climax to years of icy relations with Israel’s leadership. Trump told The Associated Press last December that he wanted to be ‘very neutral’ on Israel-Palestinian issues. But his tone became decidedly more pro-Israel as the presidential campaign progressed. He has spoken disparagingly of Palestinians, saying they have been ‘taken over’ by or are condoning extremist groups. Trump’s tweet Monday about the UN ignores much of the work that goes on in the 193-member global organisation. This year the UN Security Council has approved over 70 legally binding resolutions, including new sanctions on North Korea and measures tackling conflicts and authorizing the UN’s far-flung peacekeeping operations around the world. The General Assembly has also approved dozens of resolutions on issues, like the role of diamonds in fueling conflicts; condemned human rights abuses in Iran and North Korea; and authorized an investigation of alleged war crimes in Syria. Trump’s criticism of the UN is by no means unique. While the organisation does engage in large-scale humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts, its massive bureaucracy has long been a source of controversy. The organisation has been accused by some Western governments of being inefficient and frivolous, while developing nations have said it is overly influenced by wealthier nations. Trump tweeted later Monday, ‘The world was gloomy before I won — there was no hope. Now the market is up nearly 10 per cent and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars!’ Markets are up since Trump won the general election, although not quite by that much. The Standard and Poor’s 500 is up about 6 per cent since Election Day, while the Dow has risen more than 8 per cent. As for holiday spending, auditing and accounting firm Deloitte projected in September that total 2016 holiday sales were expected to exceed $1 trillion, representing a 3.6 per cent to 4.0 per cent increase in holiday sales from November through January. The president-elect is spending the holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He had no public schedule Monday. – AP

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