PALM BEACH, US -  US President-elect Donald Trump has launched a fresh salvo of accusations against the United Nations, saying the world body had not lived up to its potential and failed to solve global problems.

“The UN had such tremendous potential. (It is) not living up to its potential,” Trump told reporters at his Florida holiday resort Mar-a-Lago. “When do you see the United Nations solving problems? They don’t. They cause problems.”

The international institution, set up amid the ashes of World War II includes the World Health Organization, which helped eradicate small pox, and the Security Council, which was frozen by divisions as Syria plunged into chaos.

“If it lives up to the potential, it’s a great thing. If it doesn’t, it’s a waste of time and money,” Trump said.

His comments came as incoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he wants to meet Trump “as soon as possible” and is “determined to establish a constructive dialogue with the new US administration.”

The former Portuguese prime minister takes over from Ban Ki-moon on January 1. Trump takes office on January 20.

Guterres, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of last month, said he hoped for a similar outcome with the American President-elect.

The former Portuguese prime minister takes over from Ban Ki-moon on January 1 amid ongoing bloodshed in Syria and questions over the US role in the world under a Trump presidency.

“I had an excellent working meeting with President Putin and I hope this will also be the case with Donald Trump,” he told Portuguese television channel SIC in an interview Wednesday.

“It is certainly in my interest to visit him as soon as possible,” he said. “The United States is not only the main donor of the United Nations but a fundamental element in its actions.”

Trump on Friday said Washington’s policies at the UN will be different after he takes office.

“As to the UN, things will be different after Jan 20th,” he said on Twitter, referring to the date of his inauguration.

The tweet came after the United States refrained from vetoing the adoption of a Security Council measure calling on Israel - its closest Middle East ally - to halt settlement activities in Palestinian territory.

Guterres said he was “determined to establish a constructive dialogue with the future American administration”.

Trump has not hidden his scepticism about the fight against global warming but has modified that position since his November 8 election win saying he may support global accords on climate change, and that he had “an open mind”.

Asked about this, Guterres said the “new (US) government will certainly adopt a different position” than that of Barack Obama’s administration.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump lamented complications from “the age of computer” Wednesday, as he responded to questions about Russia’s alleged hacking of the US election.

Asked about possible sanctions against Moscow, Trump said “I think we ought to get on with our lives,” before waxing lyrical about the impact of computing technology.

“I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly,” he told reporters at his Florida holiday home, Mar-a-Lago.

 

“The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on.

“We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure we have the kind the security we need.”

He refused to be drawn on proposals to sanction Russian President Vladimir Putin personally for trying to influence the election.

Trump has shocked the US establishment by challenging intelligence assessments that Putin sought to not only influence the November 8 election, but tilt it against Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.

He has also shocked Republicans by suggesting that Washington should build better ties with its Cold War rival.

Last week, Trump released what he said was a “very nice” letter from Putin calling for a thaw in ties between the rival powers.

Putin’s letter, according to a translation released by Trump’s office, said “relations between Russia and the US remain an important factor in ensuring stability and security of the modern world.”

And “it called for real steps to restore the framework of bilateral cooperation in different areas.”

Trump responded by declaring: “A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin; his thoughts are so correct.

“I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts, and we do not have to travel an alternate path,” Trump said, a day after both he and Putin vowed to boost their country’s nuclear arsenals.

Relations between Washington and Moscow are at their worst since the end of the Cold War, and President Barack Obama has imposed sanctions over Russia’s interventions in Syria and Ukraine.