The vote was 78-20 and its confirmation comes less than a week before the US presidency of the UN Security Council for the month of March. Following her swearing-in, she will travel to New York and is expected to present her credentials to UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday.
Thomas-Greenfield, a respected career ambassador who was dumped under the Trump administration, was one of President Joe Biden’s top picks for his national security team. Upon his appointment, then-President-elect Biden announced he was returning the UN post to a Cabinet-level post.
In its first month, the Biden administration took a number of steps to restore both U.S. participation in the multilateral body, including the return to the Paris Climate Agreement, the decision to join the UN Human Rights Council and the end of the US withdrawal from the World Health Organization.
During his confirmation hearing last month, Thomas-Greenfield pledged to hold China to account at the international forum and spoke of the need for the United States to be present there.
“If instead we step away from the table and allow others to fill the void, the world community suffers – as do American interests,” she said. “In particular: we know that China is working through the United Nations system to drive an authoritarian agenda that opposes the institution’s founding values - American values. Their success depends on our continued withdrawal. This will not happen under my supervision. ”
Her experiences in posts in Africa, including as an Ambassador to Liberia, and her time as a senior U.S. diplomat in the Office of African Affairs are likely to be a boon to her as she assumes the presidency of the UNSC. , as a high percentage of the Security Council. business concerns the continent.
She will take office as the United States seeks to revive diplomacy with Iran, deal with the ongoing Houthi aggression while ending US support for the Yemen offensive and undertaking a series of political reviews from Afghanistan to Russia to North Korea.
While she will likely be on the same page with her European Security Council partners, she is expected to face challenges on multiple fronts from China and Russia.
Still, UN diplomats are very enthusiastic about his arrival, especially after four years of the Trump administration lambasting and neglecting the organization. Current and former American diplomats have hailed Thomas-Greenfield as an ideal candidate to restore the reputation of the United States and rebuild the credibility of the venerable multilateral institution.
UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the secretary-general “looks forward” to working with Thomas-Greenfield on issues such as climate change, Covid-19 and many other issues on a common agenda . Dujarric said Guterres knew Thomas-Greenfield well from his previous work on refugee issues.
“It’s an inspired appointment,” said Irish Ambassador to the United Nations Geraldine Byrne Nason, who said she looked forward to working with Thomas-Greenfield.
“Linda Thomas Greenfield is exactly the right fit for the job right now,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation. “She has decades of experience on the American foreign policy front. She has worked in a wide variety of international contexts. She is exceptionally well regarded among all the diplomats with whom she has served. ”
“It will be accepted by the diplomatic community, not only in New York but around the world, because the vacuum in American leadership at the UN has come at such a cost and has led countries around the world to recognize that the nations, multilateral cooperation, is so much stronger when the United States is an active player working with partners to solve common challenges, ”Cousens told CNN. “And so she’ll come with, I think, a real appetite for others to see America at the table again, and that’s really what she’ll be able to do. ”