President Joe Biden issued a defense of American leadership abroad on Tuesday and reiterated US support for Ukraine during a high-profile speech at the United Nations — as the 2024 presidential election looms at home.
In particular, Biden reiterated US support for overhauling the way the World Bank and other multilateral development banks work with low- and middle-income countries. This pressure is an implicit counterbalance to China’s long-term investment in developing countries around the world.
“The United States seeks a safer, more prosperous and more just world for all people because we know our future is tied to yours,” Biden said in remarks emphasizing global unity. “Let me repeat that. We know that our future is tied to yours. And no nation can face the challenges of today alone.”
The president’s address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday also touched on climate change, artificial intelligence, expansion to the UN Security Council, investment in the “Global South” and more.
“We have gathered once again at an inflection point in world history,” Biden said. “I understand the responsibilities my country has at this critical time.
“As President of the United States, I understand the obligation of my country to lead this critical moment, to work with countries in every region that unite them in a common cause, to connect with partners who share a common vision for the future of the world. , where our children don’t go hungry and everyone has access to quality health care, where workers are empowered and our environment is protected, where entrepreneurs and innovators everywhere have access to opportunity, where conflicts are resolved peacefully and countries can chart their own course. “
Biden closed his speech by addressing Ukraine and taking a dig at Russia – which he says is guilty of an “illegal war of conquest carried out without provocation”.
“No nation wants this war to end more than Ukraine,” the president said. “We strongly support Ukraine in its efforts to find a diplomatic solution that will bring about a just and lasting peace. Russia alone bears responsibility for this war.”
Biden said sovereignty and territorial integrity are central to the United Nations Charter and suggested continued support for Ukraine as an investment to protect those principles for all countries.
“If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation safe?” Biden asked. “I respectfully suggest the answer is no. We must confront this bare aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow.”
“That’s why the United States, together with our allies and partners around the world, will continue to stand with the brave people of Ukraine defending their sovereignty and territorial integrity and their freedom,” he continued, drawing applause from the audience. .
Biden’s presence on the world stage comes a week after he returned from a trip to India and Vietnam, where he pushed for development bank reform at meetings of “Group of 20” leaders in New Delhi, India, and Hanoi, Vietnam. significantly improve US-Vietnamese relations.
He also comes to the White House, and the Biden campaign is trying to present him as a global leader delivering results to American leaders — hard at it — unlike, they say, former President Donald Trump, the front-runner in the Republican presidential primary. He will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on Thursday as the two men push Congress to approve $24 billion in additional funding for Kyiv over the objections of some House Republicans.
In New York on Wednesday, according to the White House, Biden will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Officials declined to provide more information about the long-delayed meeting with Netanyahu or explain why it is being held on the sidelines of the annual General Assembly session and not at the White House. Netanyahu returned to power late last year, and it took Biden nearly nine months to schedule a meeting with him.
Israeli prime ministers often meet their American counterparts much more quickly; But Biden has called Netanyahu’s government the most extreme in decades and has leveled criticism of the Israeli prime minister’s handling of Israel’s historic pro-democracy protests.
In New York on Tuesday, according to administration officials, Biden will also meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as well as five Central Asian leaders — from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. And on Wednesday, Biden will also meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, officials said.
“President Biden goes into this year’s General Assembly with the confidence of the United States,” the official said. “We have strong allies and new partners; we have a vision for institutional reform at the UN, the World Bank and elsewhere; and we have initiatives to deliver on infrastructure, health, climate and other global public goods.”