Trump asks French UN envoy about elections

Britain's Ambassador to the United Nations Matthew Rycroft (2L) and France's Ambassador to the United National Francois Delattre (R) wait for a luncheon with UN Security Council member nations in the White House April 24, 2017 in Washington, DC

US President Donald Trump on Monday asked France's envoy to the United Nations about the French presidential elections following a first round of voting at the weekend.

Trump took Ambassador Francois Delattre aside during a meeting of UN Security Council envoys to Washington to ask about the vote that sets up a run-off next month between pro-Europe candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

"He asked me about the elections in France," Delattre told AFP. "I gave him a review of the situation and put things in perspective."

Trump last week had expressed support for Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, saying that she was the "strongest on borders" and the "strongest on what's been going on in France."

On Monday, French President Francois Hollande urged voters to back Macron, who topped Sunday's first-round voting with 24 percent, compared to 21 percent for Le Pen.

Security Council ambassadors held a working lunch with Trump and meetings in the Oval Office as part of the US presidency of the council in April.

Trump signaled that he was ready to work with the United Nations if the world body shows that it can reform and become more responsive to global crises.

The United States is the biggest contributor to the United Nations, paying 22 percent of the $5.4 billion core budget and 28.5 percent of the $7.9 billion peacekeeping budget.

During his election campaign, Trump dismissed the United Nations as "just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time."