Obama backs UN secretary-general for new term

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, left, speaks with US President Barack Obama. (AP)

President Barack Obama is throwing his support behind United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's run for a second term at the head of the international body.

The president made the announcement in a statement Tuesday in which he referred to the UN as "an imperfect, but indispensable institution."

The United States continues to play a large role in UN affairs and makes a substantial financial contribution to the world body each year, although the UN also has harsh critics among some in Congress. In endorsing Ban's re-election bid, Obama said he feels the secretary-general "has made important reforms" at the UN, including efforts to hire more women for senior posts and cuts in the body's budget. He applauded Ban's "efforts to resolve the political and humanitarian crisis in Libya."

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