Biden faces tough sell at UN on extending support to Ukraine | Albiseyler

Biden faces tough sell at UN on extending support to Ukraine

NEW YORK – President Biden has a clear agenda for this year’s annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly here in New York: Maintain robustness global support for Ukraine.

But it will be difficult to make it happen – especially this year.

Ukrainian officials had hoped to roll into New York this week touting big gains in their summer counteroffensive, but entrenched Russian forces have thwarted efforts to a major breakthrough and both sides continue to suffer heavy losses.

The toll of the conflict on food and energy prices has accelerated calls in the developing world to a negotiated solution. And support among Americans the public has slipped, as a segment of the Republican Party criticizes war effort estimated at $73 billion price tag.

But Biden, who is scheduled to address a rally on Tuesday, will be aided by the conflict’s most charismatic voice: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi, who will visit New York to raise awareness of Russian atrocities and highlight how the Kremlin’s invasion violates the United Nations’ most sacred principle of border sovereignty — something he hopes will unite all countries fearful of pressure from their larger neighbor.

“President Biden looks forward to hearing President Zelensky’s perspective on all of this and reaffirming to the world and to the United States, to the American people, his commitment to continue to lead the world in support of Ukraine,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday in a preview of Biden’s activities this week.

A significant arrow in Biden’s quiver is the relatively weak turnout of America’s main opponents at the rally. Russian President Vladimir Putin, facing an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court, will not fly to New York, and neither will Chinese President Xi Jinping or his top diplomat, Wang Yi.

Colloquially known as the Super Bowl of global diplomacy, the meeting is one of the best opportunities for development countries that are not invited to other gatherings of international leaders to express their concerns about world affairs. The vacancies will offer Biden and Zelensky a chance to dominate the agenda and listen to leaders of less wealthy countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, a region often called the Global South.

Key to achieving this will be Biden’s plan Wednesday’s meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a prominent campaigner for the Global South, who called for peace talks in Ukraine and accused the West of prolonging the conflict by providing arms and military equipment to Kiev. “The United States must stop supporting war and start talking about peace,” Lula said in the spring.

Sullivan made clear that the United States will continue to provide military support to Ukraine and discourage what it sees as premature calls for peace talks — even as the battle lines in Ukraine harden and it appears less likely that Kiev’s forces will sever Russia’s land bridge to Crimea . , a key Russian military transit route.

“Our job from our perspective is to give Ukraine the tools it needs to be in the best possible position on the battlefield to be in the best possible position at the negotiating table,” Sullivan said.

The US intelligence community believes that Ukraine will not reach the city of Melitopol in its current offensive. Last week, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he said Ukrainian troops may only have “30 to 45 days of combat weather” left in the current offensive.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told German media on Sunday that the conflict would not end quickly. “Most wars last longer than expected when they first start,” Funke told the media group. “We all wish for a speedy peace.”

By contrast, at last year’s UN assembly, Ukrainian diplomats arrived in New York with the wind at their backs, with Kiev forces pushing back Russian forces around the southern city of Kherson and the northeastern city of Kharkiv and recapturing valuable territory.

Still, Milley and other senior U.S. officials said Ukrainian troops are “not done” and continue to make “steady progress.”

While most UN member states voted to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many in the Global South feared the prospect of an endless stalemate. The bloc of nations in Africa and Latin America maintains economic and diplomatic ties to the Kremlin and is reluctant to enforce Western sanctions for fear of economic repercussions.

“The default position of most UN members is that we have to negotiate an end to the war,” said Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the International Crisis Group. “If Zelensky sits in the UN Security Council and says we’re going to fight forever, then that creates a clear disconnect with a lot of non-Western countries that are struggling with debt and poverty and feel that their problems are overshadowed.”

Sullivan, the national security adviser, disputed the notion that there was a significant delta between the US position and the developing world, saying US diplomats were working hard to close the gap. “In fact, we believe that over the last few months we have built strong engagement and dialogue with the global South about what a just peace ultimately looks like,” he said. “Russia doesn’t seem to be particularly serious at the moment.”

Outside Ukraine, Biden’s speech to the world body is expected to tout his administration’s record of global leadership.

The president will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday as the two allies navigate a series of challenges stemming from The most right-wing Israeli government in history. Biden and many Democrats in Congress have criticized Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul Israel’s judiciary, which they fear threatens the country’s democracy. Netanyahu has also repeatedly rejected Biden’s requests to halt settlement expansion in the West Bank and allow the United States to reopen its consulate in Jerusalem to Palestinians.

In light of those differences, Biden has kept his distance from the Israeli leader, and the meeting in New York will be their first tête-à-tête since Netanyahu won the election last fall.

This week, Biden will also become the first US president to meet together with the leaders of five Central Asian countries, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Discussions with the five countries, sometimes collectively called the “Stans”, are expected to focus on issues of trade, climate change and regional security. Biden is also scheduled to speak with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

After the meetings in New York, Zelenskyi will follow Biden back to Washington as the two leaders present a request to Congress to approve additional funding for Ukraine. Biden is seeking a more than $24 billion package that includes $13.1 billion in military aid, $8.5 billion in humanitarian aid and $2.3 billion in government funding needs.

The package faces opposition among some House Republicans, but GOP leaders say Zelensky’s visit is likely to be “very, very persuasive,” Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS News on Sunday. . “Zelensky is a great speaker. He really makes the case better than anyone else.’

The White House agrees with this – even if Zelensky’s pleas for support sometimes stump the Oval Office.

“Over the last 18, 19 months, he has demonstrated that there is no better advocate for his country, for his people, and for the urgent and continuing need for countries like the United States and our allies and partners to step up to provide the necessary tools and resources that Ukraine needs,” he said Sullivan.

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