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Biden offers support to Ukraine, highlights global unity in UN speech

President Joe Biden defended U.S. leadership abroad on Tuesday and reiterated U.S. support for Ukraine in a high-profile speech to the United Nations – as the 2024 presidential election gathers pace in his country.

In particular, Biden reiterated U.S. support for overhauling how the World Bank and other multilateral development banks work with low- and middle-income countries. The move is an implicit counterbalance to China’s long-standing investments in developing countries around the world.

“The United States aspires to a safer, more prosperous, and more equitable world for all, because we know our future is linked to yours,” Biden said in his speech highlighting global unity. “Let me repeat that. We know that our future is linked to yours. And no nation can meet today’s challenges alone.”

The president’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday also touched on climate change, artificial intelligence, the expansion of the United Nations Security Council, investing in the “global South” and more Again.

“We meet once again at an inflection point in world history,” Biden said. “I understand my country’s duty at this critical moment.”

“As President of the United States, I understand my country’s duty to lead at this critical moment, to work with countries in every region in common cause, to unite with partners who share a vision common of the future of the world., where our children do not go hungry and everyone has access to quality health care, where workers are empowered and our environment is protected, where entrepreneurs and innovators of the The world can access opportunities everywhere, where conflicts are resolved peacefully and countries can chart their own course.”

President Joe Biden addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 19, 2023.

Mike Segar/Reuters

Biden closed his speech by addressing Ukraine and lashing out at Russia, which he said is responsible for an “illegal, unprovoked war of conquest.”

“No nation wants this war to end more than Ukraine,” the president said. “We strongly support Ukraine in its efforts to reach a diplomatic solution that can bring about a just and lasting peace. Russia bears sole responsibility for this war.”

Biden said sovereignty and territorial integrity are at the heart of the United Nations Charter and framed continued support for Ukraine as an investment to protect those principles for all countries.

“If we let Ukraine divide, is the independence of a nation assured?” » asked Biden. “I respectfully suggest the answer is no. We must resist this blatant assault today and deter other potential aggressors tomorrow.”

“That is why the United States, along with our allies and partners around the world, will continue to stand with the courageous people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom,” he said. he continued, eliciting a round of 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 made the case for development bank reform at a meeting of “Group of 20” leaders. » in New Delhi, India, and Hanoi, Vietnam, agreed to significantly improve U.S.-Vietnam relations.

PHOTO: The flags of the United Nations and the United States fly in front of the United Nations headquarters ahead of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 18, 2023.

The flags of the United Nations and the United States fly in front of the United Nations headquarters ahead of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 18, 2023.

Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

It’s also happening at the White House and Biden’s campaign is seeking to portray him as a world leader delivering results for America’s hard-working leaders – in contrast, they say, to former President Donald Trump, the party’s favorite. Republican Party. presidential primary election. He will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House on Thursday as the two men push Congress to approve an additional $24 billion in funding for Kiev over the objections of some House Republicans.

In New York on Wednesday, Biden will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the White House.

The officials declined to share more information about the long-delayed meeting with Netanyahu or to explain why it is taking place on the sidelines of the annual General Assembly meeting rather than at the White House. Netanyahu returned to power late last year and Biden clearly took nearly nine months to schedule a meeting with him.

Israeli prime ministers often meet their American counterparts much more quickly; Biden, however, called Netanyahu’s government the most extreme in decades and offered measured criticism of the Israeli prime minister’s handling of historic pro-democracy protests in Israel.

In New York on Tuesday, administration officials said, Biden will also meet with U.N. Secretary-General António 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 Inácio Lula da Silva, the officials said.

“President Biden enters this year’s General Assembly with the United States confident,” one 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 achieve results on infrastructure, health, climate and other global public goods.”

ABC News

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