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Biden to address UN Assembly in bid to strengthen alliances

NEW YORK — President Biden will outline his vision for addressing global challenges in his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, seeking to use the flagship speech to strengthen the cooperation of allies and partners amid signs of change and tensions in global alliances.

U.S. officials declined to provide many details about the president’s speech, saying it was still being finalized as of Monday evening but that this year’s gathering is once again expected to focus heavily on Ukraine. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to gain insight into the president’s remarks, said Biden would reaffirm his commitment to the United Nations Charter, express his commitment to reforming international organizations to meet the current moment and address global challenges, including climate change, infrastructure and economic development. .

They said Biden would tout the work his administration has done in these areas and outline ways the United States can work with other countries to make even more progress.

Last week, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said a “substantial section” of Biden’s speech would focus on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“He will speak to the fundamental fact that the Charter of the United Nations – the charter that founded the organization with which everyone is meeting next week in New York to engage – addresses the fundamental proposition that countries cannot not attack their neighbors and steal their territory by force,” Sullivan said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will be present here. He will travel to Washington later in the week to meet with Biden and members of Congress. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is the subject of an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court over Russian atrocities in Ukraine, will not attend the UN event.

The high-profile rally gives Biden another opportunity to try to catalyze world opinion in favor of continuing the supply of weapons and other aid to Ukraine, amid signs that support for Kiev could weaken in the United States and abroad. At a recent meeting of the Group of 20 economic powers, members struggled to produce a joint statement on Ukraine and other issues. In the United States, Republicans are divided on whether or not to support continued aid.

Ukraine’s long-awaited military counteroffensive against Russia has made less progress than its allies had hoped, reinforcing the sense that the war is turning into a long slog with no clear outcome.

In addition to Ukraine, Sullivan and other U.S. officials say the president will focus on a broad range of global development issues, including those important to less-wealthy countries in Africa, Asia and of Latin America, a region often referred to as the “global zone”. South.

“He will lay out for the world the steps he and his administration have taken to promote a vision of American leadership based on the principle of working with others to solve the world’s most pressing problems,” Sullivan said. “We’ve put a lot of points on the board, and the president will explain how these steps – how all these steps he’s taken so far fit into a bigger picture.”

Much of the message hinges on the growing rivalry between the United States and China for influence in the Global South. U.S. officials hope to take advantage of the fact that Chinese leader Xi Jinping will not travel to New York for this week’s gathering, as will China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi.

While Biden enjoys a high-level week at the UN without Putin or Xi, he shares the proverbial stage with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

Raisi, who is holding meetings on the sidelines of the summit this week, harshly criticized the United States in a meeting with journalists on Monday, saying its “meddling” in the Middle East has caused “seven decades of oppression” and of “destruction”.

The Biden administration disputed Raisi’s comments late Monday, saying recent U.S. efforts to facilitate ongoing peace talks between Yemen’s Houthi rebels — backed by Iran — and Saudi Arabia, as well as a possible normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, demonstrate a determined effort by the United States. to reduce tensions in the region.

Biden and his aides come to New York with a message that the United States is open to diplomacy, whether it’s delicate prisoner swaps with Iran or improving relations between geopolitical rivals and sectarians of the region.

“Generally speaking, the region is about as stable as it has been in many years,” said a senior U.S. administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomatic measures. “I think a lot of that is due to some pretty smart American diplomacy – often behind the scenes.”

On Monday evening, Biden told Democratic donors that he hoped to impress upon world leaders this week the idea that America “is back.” He often used the phrase to express the United States’ return to global leadership following the presidency of Donald Trump, whose approach often involved breaking up or withdrawing from traditional alliances.

The president will attend four political fundraisers during his four-day stay in New York, signaling that the 2024 election season is starting to heat up.

Also on Tuesday, Biden will meet with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and hold a meeting with the leaders of five Central Asian countries. In the evening, Biden and first lady Jill Biden will host a reception for world leaders at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

On Wednesday, the president will hold a bilateral meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the two will then host an event with U.S. and Brazilian workers. The union event comes amid worker strikes across the United States.

Biden will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It will be their first face-to-face meeting since Netanyahu won his election last fall and initiated changes to the country’s justice system that were widely criticized as undemocratic and sparked massive protests in Israel. Relations between Biden and Netanyahu have often been frosty, and this week’s meeting comes in the absence of a more formal event for the Israeli leader at the White House.


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