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(photo credit: AP)
President George W. Bush pledged on Tuesday to work for peace with the United Nations' new leader across wartorn and troubled areas of the world.
Bush met in his official Oval Office with Ban Ki-moon, the new UN secretary-general.
Talking with reporters later, Ban called the situation in the Middle East a "source of grave concern."
"Iraq and elsewhere needs an urgent attention of the international community," Ban said. "Particularly when it comes to Iraq, the international community should have all possible assistance to help Iraqi government and people to restore peace and stability and recover from economic devastation."
Posing for pictures with Ban, Bush said, "The United States wants to work with the United Nations to achieve a peace through the spread of freedom."
Ban said he was humbled by the challenges he faces and that he will need the support of the United States in areas such as Lebanon, North Korea and Somalia.
"All are global issues which require global wisdom and effort," he said.
The Bush administration has complained that the UN bureaucracy is bloated and contends changes are needed to streamline the world organization's procedures. Ban said he was reviewing possible reforms.
"The United Nations should change with much more efficiency and effectiveness and mobility, and highest level of ethical standard," Ban said. "I'm very much committed to carrying out this reform, and I need strong support of all member states and staff of the United Nations in carrying these reform measures."
The meeting came at a time of transition at the United Nations for the United States. Bush has announced he will nominate the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, to be the next US envoy to the United Nations. Khalilzad, who was born in Afghanistan, also has served as ambassador to Afghanistan. He will replace John Bolton, who could not win Senate confirmation and resigned last month as his temporary appointment as UN ambassador was about to expire.