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New US Envoy to UN to Focus on Poverty, Development

The new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and International Organizations in Geneva, Betty King, says she intends to push poverty and economic development issues higher up on the diplomatic agenda. She says Geneva is enjoying a resurgence of diplomatic activity and she is looking forward to being part of it.

Betty King says she was very excited when President Obama appointed her as Ambassador to Geneva.

"For a very long time I have wanted this position. I sent an unmistakable message to Washington that this really was the only job I was interested in," she said. "I wanted to be here because I think that there really is no better time than this time to be here."

And that, King explains, is because President Obama has heralded a new spirit of multilateralism and a new era of engagement. She says she believes she can build upon this to improve the lives of people mired in poverty.

The ambassador has served as the U.S. Representative to the U.N. Economic and Social Council under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In that capacity, she has spent several summers in Geneva working on development and poverty issues. She says she will continue to focus on these concerns.

"In New York, I think my proudest achievement was being the U.S. chief negotiator for the Millennium Development Goals, which still stand as a model for development around the world," she said. "We really have a long way to go in terms of that agenda including achieving universal primary education. We have a lot of goals in global health and in the poverty eradication agenda," she added.

Multi-tasking is a core part of the ambassador's job description. As head of the U.S. mission, King will be involved with every issue of consequence in the world. For example, she will have to deal with matters related to climate change, public health, refugees, and intellectual property.

But, she says this does not deter her. She says she likes to talk - adding she also likes to listen. She says she believes this combination can help span some of the differences that exist between the United States and other governments.