Former top officials urge stronger ties to UN

A wide array of former top US officials have urged President-elect Barack Obama to make the United Nations a close partner in confronting global threats and environmental challenges. Former Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher and former Defense Secretaries Harold Brown and William Perry were among the signatories of the statement issued on Wednesday by the UN Foundation and the Partnership for a Secure America, a bipartisan foreign-policy advocacy group. "The next president has a unique opportunity to revitalize the US-UN relationship as a symbol of America's commitment to constructive international cooperation," the statement said. Specific recommendations to the incoming Obama administration included leading UN efforts to slow the spread of nuclear weapons and technology, counterterrorism and climate change, and involving the UN in stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan. staff contributed to this report.