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Biden vows to beat COVID-19, climate change in UN speech

Biden vows to beat COVID-19, climate change in UN speech

dpa
New York
Joe Biden passionately called on world leaders to work together to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic and address the challenge of climate change in his first address as US president to the United Nations General Assembly
on Tuesday.
Seeking to usher in a new era of US leadership, Biden vowed to respect allies and partners as the United States shows the way to defeat the ever more difficult shared problems facing the entire globe.
“We will lead not just with the example of our power but with the power of the example,” Biden told more than 100 leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York.
“Bombs and bullets cannot defend against Covid-19, or its future variants,” he added. “To fight this pandemic, we need a collective act of science and political will.” Biden called climate change an existential challenge for a world already facing a “code red” increase in temperatures worldwide. He promised to work together for solutions with wealthy and developing nations alike.
“We will lead on all the greatest challenges of our time from Covid to climate,” he said. “But we will not lead alone. We will go together.
“Let’s get to work,” he said. “Let’s make our better future now.” Biden also called for diplomacy to solve rifts with rivals like Iran and North Korea, saying the Iran nuclear deal may be revived, while warning that the US would continue to flex its military muscle when needed.
Amid growing China tensions, Biden also declared the US is “not seeking a new Cold War,” even though he didn’t mention the biggest geopolitical rival by name.
He repeated the US’s “unshakeable” support for Israel, but said that the US remains committed to a two-state solution to the conflict with the Palestinians.
Just three weeks after he ordered the last US troops to leave Afghanistan, Biden said that his country was at peace with the world after 20 years of overseas conflicts.
But he warned that the US remains committed to fighting terror and extremism, whether overseas or at home.
“We must also remain vigilant to the threat of terror, that terrorism poses, to all our nations, whether emanating from distant regions of the world or in our own backyard,” Biden said.
On human rights, he name-checked China’s oppression of the Uighur minority and Ethiopia’s crackdown in its northern region of Tigray as intolerable violations of global norms.
Biden was greeted warmly by the diplomats in the chamber in a noticeable shift from predecessor Donald Trump, who endured frosty receptions when he spoke to the body. A handful even gave him a standing ovation at the end of his 30-minute address.
Biden arrived in New York on Monday and met with Secretary General Antonio Guterres ahead of Tuesday’s address at the annual traffic-clogging diplomatic marquee event.
He still needs to portray strength to rivals like China and Russia and calm tensions with allies like France and Europe.
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 failing to work together with allies after a controversial submarine deal with Australia.

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