Ban presses Clinton for stronger US leadership in the UN

At his first meeting with the top diplomat for the new US administration, UN chief Ban Ki-moon pressed for more money but stronger American leadership on climate change, the Middle East, chaos in Somalia and justice in Darfur. Ban said during a wide-ranging interview this week with The Associated Press that he was encouraged by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's response to his request for additional cash for peacekeepers and other badly stretched UN priorities. They spoke on the sidelines of an international conference in Egypt on Monday that raised $5.2 billion in pledges for rebuilding Gaza, at the conclusion of the UN secretary-general's nine-day, six-nation African tour. "She is quite supportive, and she told me that she will, her administration, the Obama administration is committed to working very closely politically and also (with) these financial contributions," Ban told the AP.