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Biden Aims to Enlist Allies at UN      09/21 06:12

   President Joe Biden planned to use his first address before the U.N. General 
Assembly to reassure other nations of American leadership on the global stage 
and call on allies to move quickly and cooperatively to address the festering 
issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights abuses.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- President Joe Biden planned to use his first address before 
the U.N. General Assembly to reassure other nations of American leadership on 
the global stage and call on allies to move quickly and cooperatively to 
address the festering issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and human 
rights abuses.

   Biden, who arrived in New York on Monday evening to meet with 
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ahead of Tuesday's address, offered a 
full-throated endorsement of the body's relevance and ambition at a difficult 
moment in history.

   The president, in brief remarks at the start of his meeting with Guterres, 
returned to his mantra that "America is back" -- a phrase that's become 
presidential shorthand meant to encapsulate his promise to take a dramatically 
different tack with allies than predecessor Donald Trump.

   "The vision of the United Nations has never been short on ambition, any more 
than our Constitution," Biden said.

   But the president was facing a healthy measure of skepticism from allies 
during his week of high-level diplomacy. The opening months of his presidency 
have included a series of difficult moments with friendly nations that were 
expecting greater cooperation from Biden following four years of Trump's 
"America first" approach to foreign policy.

   Eight months into his presidency, Biden has been out of sync with allies on 
the chaotic ending to the U.S. war in Afghanistan. He has faced differences 
over how to go about sharing coronavirus vaccines with the developing world and 
over pandemic travel restrictions. And there are questions about the best way 
to respond to military and economic moves by China.

   Biden also finds himself in the midst of a fresh diplomatic spat with 
France, the United States' oldest ally, after announcing plans -- along with 
Britain -- to equip Australia with nuclear-powered submarines. The move is 
expected to give Australia improved capabilities to patrol the Pacific amid 
growing concern about the Chinese military's increasingly aggressive tactics, 
but it upended a French defense contract worth at least $66 billion to sell 
diesel-powered submarines to Australia.

   French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Monday there was a "crisis 
of trust" with the U.S. as a result of the episode.

   Before Biden's arrival, EU Council President Charles Michel strongly 
criticized the Biden administration for leaving Europe "out of the game in the 
Indo-Pacific region" and ignoring the underlying elements of the trans-Atlantic 
alliance -- transparency and loyalty -- in the withdrawal from Afghanistan and 
the announcement of the U.S.-U.K.-Australia alliance.

   Despite such differences, Biden hoped to use his address to the General 
Assembly as well as a series of one-on-one and larger meetings with world 
leaders this week to make the case for American leadership on the world stage.

   "There are points of disagreement, including when we have disagreed with the 
decisions other countries are making, the decision points of when countries 
have disagreed with the decisions we're making," White House press secretary 
Jen Psaki said. "But the larger point here ... is that we are committed to 
those alliances, and that always requires work from every president, from every 
global leader."

   In an interview before his meeting with Biden, Guterres told The Associated 
Press that he was concerned about the "completely dysfunctional" U.S.-China 
relationship and that it could lead to a new cold war. Psaki said the 
administration disagreed with the assessment, adding that the U.S.-China 
relationship was "one not of conflict but of competition."

   In his address Tuesday, Biden planned to put a heavy emphasis on the need 
for world leaders to work together on the COVID-19 pandemic, meet past 
obligations to address climate change, head off emerging technology issues and 
firm up trade rules, White House officials said.

   Biden was expected to release new plans to assist the global vaccination 
effort and to talk about the U.S. plan to meet its part of financial 
commitments that the U.S. and other developed nations made in 2009 to help 
poorer nations adopt clean energy technology, assistance that was due to kick 
in annually last year, according to a senior administration official who spoke 
on the condition of anonymity to preview the president's remarks.

   Ahead of his departure, the Biden administration announced plans to ease 
foreign travel restrictions to the U.S. beginning in November. The U.S. has 
largely restricted travel by non-U.S. citizens coming from Europe since the 
start of the pandemic, an issue that had become a point of contention in 
trans-Atlantic relations.

   The new rules will allow foreigners in if they have proof of vaccination and 
a negative COVID-19 test, the White House said Monday.

   Biden planned to limit his time at the United Nations due to coronavirus 
concerns. He was to meet with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison while in 
New York before shifting the rest of the week's diplomacy to virtual and 
Washington settings.

   At a virtual COVID-19 summit Biden is hosting Wednesday, leaders will be 
urged to step up vaccine-sharing commitments, address oxygen shortages around 
the globe and deal with other critical pandemic-related issues.

   The president is also scheduled to meet with British Prime Minister Boris 
Johnson on Tuesday at the White House, and invited the prime ministers of 
Australia, India and Japan -- part of a Pacific alliance known as "the Quad" -- 
to Washington on Friday. In addition to the gathering of Quad leaders, Biden 
will sit down for one-on-one meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi 
and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

 
 
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