Last year, Donald Trump criticised the United Nations as "a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time", but on 4 January, the president-elect had a introductory phone call with the new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. And according to an agency spokesperson, the two had "a very positive discussion".

"This was an introductory phone call during which they had a very positive discussion on US/UN relations. The secretary-general said that he looked forward to engaging with the president after his inauguration," Farhan Haq told reporters.

Guterres, a former Portuguese prime minister and UN high commissioner for refugees began his five-year term on 1 January and on Wednesday he initiated US-UN talks with Trump. "This was an introductory call," Haq said, adding that "it went quite well". The two men reportedly discussed "a number of avenues for participation and cooperation".

Trump's spokesperson Sean Spicer did not give away any details regarding the conversation, but said that the incoming administration would take measures to see that the international agency made proper use of US tax dollars.

The president-elect has taken to Twitter to voice his issues with the United Nations on a number of occasions. After the UN Security Council's 23 December vote to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank, he tweeted, "The United Nations has such great potential. But right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. Sad!"

On numerous occasions, Trump has questioned the validity of climate change claims and even suggested that he would withdraw from the Paris Accords on climate change, calling the agreement "a bad deal".

The UN in turn criticised Trump's stand on accepting refugees from certain countries into the US. The UN high commissioner for human rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein compared Trump to European right-wing leaders who are "populists, demagogues and political fantasists".

Guterres on his part stated that he plans to make changes to the UN budget and tighten purse strings and on Wednesday announced the creation of a committee that will look into "reorganisation for greater efficiency".

The US is the largest donor to the UN budget and the agency is rightly concerned about changes that might be implemented during the Trump administration. However, on 3 January, when asked if he was concerned about the president-elect's statements, Guterres said: "No. I'm concerned with all the terrible problems we face in the world."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had an introductory phone call with President-elect Donald Trump on 4 January Reuters