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New US Envoy Arrives at United Nations

The new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has presented her credentials to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. Afterwards, she told reporters she will pursue a few main priorities.

Repeating what she told Congress during her confirmation hearing earlier this month, Ambassador Susan Rice said the United States' goals at the United Nations are four-fold.

"Strengthening the capacity of the organization to engage effectively in complex peace operations at a time when the burdens and challenges placed on the institution are greater than ever," Rice said. "Advancing our national and collective agenda to address climate change and the challenges of non-proliferation are two other important objectives. And putting the United States at the center of international efforts to support poverty reduction, development, fighting disease and achieving the Millennium Development Goals."

She said President Barack Obama's view is clear - that the United States' security and well-being can best be advanced in cooperation and in partnership with other nations.

"There is no more important forum for that effective cooperation than the United Nations. I am looking very much forward to engaging in a cooperative, constructive fashion with my colleagues here in New York," Rice said.

Asked to comment on what action the new administration might take on Iran's nuclear pursuits, Ambassador Rice said the United States remains "deeply concerned" about the threat that program poses to the region and the international community. She said the U.S. would pursue vigorous diplomacy that would be both directly with Iran and continued collaboration with the other four permanent members of the Security Council and Germany through the group known as the "P-Five Plus One".

"Dialogue and diplomacy must go hand-in-hand with a very firm message from the United States and the international community that Iran needs to meet its obligations as defined by the Security Council and its continued refusal to do so will only cause pressure to increase," she said.

In Africa, Ambassador Rice has said the slow deployment of U.N. peacekeepers to the Darfur region of Sudan is "unacceptable." She told reporters that in her meeting with the U.N. secretary-general they discussed effective efforts to support the full deployment of the peacekeepers so there is the capacity on the ground to fully protect civilians there from the ongoing genocide.