UNITED NATIONS: United States President-elect Joe Biden spoke with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Tuesday and discussed the need for a “strengthened” US-UN partnership to address urgent global issues, including coronavirus pandemic, climate change, upholding peace and security and resolving conflicts. A readout from the president-elect’s transition team said that Biden thanked the UN chief for his congratulations following his election victory on November 3. Biden will be sworn in on January 20. “They discussed the need for a strengthened partnership between the United States and the United Nations on urgent global issues, including combating COVID-19 and building resilience to future public health challenges, confronting the threat of climate change, addressing humanitarian need, advancing sustainable development, upholding peace and security and resolving conflicts; and promoting democracy and human rights, the readout issued by the Biden transition team said. Biden also noted his deep concern for the escalating violence in Ethiopia and the risk it poses to civilians. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed lauded his troops on Monday for ousting a northern movement, but the leader of Tigrayan forces said they were still resisting amid fears of a protracted guerrilla conflict. The nearly month-long war has killed hundreds of people, sent refugees into Sudan, enmeshed Eritrea, and stirred rivalries among Ethiopia’s myriad ethnic groups. Meanwhile, a statement issued on the phone call by the secretary-general’s spokesman said that Guterres was “pleased” to speak with Biden to extend his personal congratulations to the President-elect. “The Secretary-General underscored the essential role played by the enduring close co-operation between the United States and the United Nations,” Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in the statement. “He (the UN chief) looks forward to working with the President-elect and his team to building on our partnership to address the many urgent issues facing the world today, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, upholding peace and security, promoting human rights, and addressing humanitarian needs,” the UN statement said. Monday’s statements from Biden’s transition team and the UN chief’s office bode well for a strengthened US-UN cooperation following President Donald Trump’s shunning of the U.N. and other multilateral organizations, relying on his go-it-alone stance. He pulled the US out of some key UN bodies and cutoff funds to others. Under the Trump Administration, Washington has formally notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO), left the Paris Climate Agreement, the United Nations Human Rights Council as well as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), besides ending funding to UNRWA, the UN Agency tasked with caring for Palestinian refugees. Trump also withdrew from some key international treaties. Biden has pledged that his administration would rejoin the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. On November 4, the US formally withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, a decision originally announced three years ago.