Washington — President Biden is addressing the United Nations General Assembly for the first time of his presidency Tuesday as he seeks to put the United States on firmer footing with allies and reassure world leaders his administration will not be an extension of the chaotic four years under former President Donald Trump. But that message is complicated by diplomatic challenges and international criticism over a submarine deal with Australia and over the handling of the exit from Afghanistan.
Mr. Biden said the world is at a crossroads when it comes to determining what the future will look like, as the world battles climate change, COVID-19 and other challenges.
“Simply put, we stand, in my view, at an inflection point in history,” Mr. Biden said. “And I’m here today to share with you how the United States intends to work with partners and allies to answer these questions, and the commitment of my new administration to help lead the world toward a more peaceful, prosperous future for all people.”
The president arrived in New York on Monday,United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. After delivering his remarks Tuesday morning, Mr. Biden will gather with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in New York and then return to the White House for a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The president’s appearance at the U.N. General Assembly comes as his administration is facing heightened tensions with U.S. allies due to thewhich was completed last month. The Biden administration is also grappling with the fallout from a the U.S. brokered with Australia and the United Kingdom, which has caused a , the nation’s oldest ally.
Still, during brief remarks before meeting with Guterres, Mr. Biden reiterated that “America is back,” a phraseoften to demonstrate how his administration will differ from Mr. Trump’s on the world stage, and stressed the U.S. is committed to the United Nations.
Without criticizing his predecessor during his speech, Mr. Biden hit on his recurring theme that the U.S. is back in international partnerships.
“We’re back at the table in international forums, especially the United Nations, to focus attention and to spur global action on shared challenges,” Mr. Biden said. “We are reengaged at the World Health Organization, and working in close partnership with COVAX to deliver life-saving vaccines around the world. We rejoined the Paris climate agreement, and we’re running to retake a seat on the Human Rights Council next year at the U.N. And as the United States seeks to rally the world to action, we will lead not just with the example of our power, but God willing, the power of our example.”
The president also emphasized the end of an era of war in the Middle East, and said many of the challenges the world faces “cannot be solved or even addressed with the force of arms.”
“Bombs and bullets cannot defend against COVID-19 or its future variants,” he said.
Planes carrying vaccines from the U.S. have landed in more than 100 countries, offering a “dose of hope,” he said. Mr. Biden said he’ll be announcing additional vaccine commitments to the world soon.
The president is spending limited time in New York for the General Assembly, but will continue to meet with other world leaders in Washington throughout the week. On Wednesday, the president will host a virtual COVID Summit, during which he will ask participants to step up their commitments to provide COVID-19 vaccines and address the oxygen crisis, according to the White House.
He will also participate in bilateral meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide at the White House on Friday, and host an in-person summit with the prime ministers of Australia, India and Japan.
This article is sourced from CBS News