UN chief praises Haley's 'excellent cooperation'

United Nations (United States) (AFP) –


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a message of "deep appreciation" for US envoy Nikki Haley on Tuesday after she announced she was stepping down from the post at the end of the year.

Stephane Dujarric, Guterres's spokesman, said the UN had yet to receive formal notification of her resignation as Washington's permanent representative to the world body.

"The secretary-general wishes to express his deep appreciation for the excellent cooperation and support that Ambassador Haley has always demonstrated," he said.

"They had a very productive and strong working relationship during her tenure as United States permanent representative."

Haley announced her unexpected decision at the White House with US President Donald Trump.

She gave no reason for the move or what her next step would be except to say she did not plan to run in 2020 and would campaign for Trump's reelection.

At the United Nations, she was a vocal defender of Trump's hardline foreign policy, which has challenged multilateral approaches to the world's biggest problems.

She has pushed strongly for reform of the UN, which the Trump administration sees as bureaucratic and wasteful.

During her tenure, the United States broke with traditional UN positions on the Palestinians, withdrew from UNESCO and cut funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, and abandoned the UN Human Rights Council as biased against Israel.

Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, Karen Pierce, told AFP she was "very disappointed" by Haley's resignation, which she said learned through media reports.

France's ambassador, Francois Delattre, praised Haley as one of the US administration's "most talented" officials.

Despite some disagreements, he said, "we established a working relationship that was particularly close and trusting."

Ashish Pradhan, an expert with the International Crisis Group, said Haley's departure raised the prospect of a more hardline replacement.

"The fear now is whether the person who replaces her will take an even tougher line against the UN, especially with National Security Advisor John Bolton now in the White House," he said.