By AAMER MADHANI
NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden is poised to make the case to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly that Russia’s “blatant aggression” in Ukraine is an affront to what the international organization stands for as he seeks to rally allies to firmly support the Ukrainian resistance.
During his time at the UN General Assembly, Biden also planned to meet Wednesday with new British Prime Minister Liz Truss, announce a global food security initiative and push allies to meet an $18 billion goal to replenish the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Tuberculosis . malaria.
But White House officials say the heart of the president’s visit to the United Nations this year will be a strong condemnation of Russia as its brutal war approaches the seven-month mark.
“He will resolutely challenge Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine and urge the world to continue to stand up to the overt aggression we’ve seen over the past few months,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a preview. address of the president. “He will emphasize the importance of strengthening the United Nations and reaffirm the basic principles of its Charter at a time when a permanent member of the Security Council has struck at the very heart of the Charter, challenging the principle of territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
The appeal came as Russian-controlled regions of eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold Kremlin-backed referendums on joining Russia in the coming days and as Moscow loses ground as a result of the invasion. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial mobilization to call up 300,000 reservists and accused the West of participating in “nuclear blackmail.”
Biden faces no shortage of tough questions as leaders gather this year.
In addition to the Russian war in Ukraine, European fears that a recession may be just around the corner are growing. The administration’s concern is growing with each passing day that time is running out to revive the Iran nuclear deal and rattle China’s guns on Taiwan.
When he spoke at last year’s General Assembly, Biden focused on broad themes of global partnership, urging world leaders to act urgently against the coronavirus, climate change and human rights abuses. And he asserted that his presidency marked the return of American leadership in international institutions after Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.
But a year later, global dynamics have changed dramatically.
Stewart Patrick, senior fellow and director of the Global Order and Institutions Program at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, wrote in an analysis that Biden’s task this year is “enormous” compared to his first address to the United Nations as president.
“Last year, the American leader made waves as the ‘anti-Trump’ by promising that ‘America is back,'” Patrick said. “This year calls for more. The liberal, rules-based international system is reeling under Russian aggression, Chinese ambitions, authoritarian attacks, stalled pandemic recovery, accelerating climate change, skepticism about the relevance of the UN, and gnawing doubts about America’s resilience.”
In addition to diplomacy, the president is also engaged in politics. This year’s gathering comes less than seven weeks before key midterm elections in the United States. Shortly after arriving in Manhattan on Tuesday night, Biden spoke at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser for about 100 attendees that raised nearly $2 million, and he is set to hold another fundraiser on Thursday before heading back to Washington.
His speech on Wednesday came after Ukrainian forces regained control of large swaths of territory near Kharkiv. But even as Ukrainian troops are racking up victories, much of Europe is feeling the sting of economic sanctions imposed on Russia. A significant reduction in Russian oil and gas has led to a sharp jump in energy prices, a rapid increase in inflation and an increase in the risk of Europe falling into recession.
Biden’s visit to the UN also comes as his administration’s efforts to restore the 2015 Iran nuclear deal appear to have stalled.
The deal brokered by the Obama administration — and canceled by Trump in 2018 — called for billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for Iran agreeing to halt most of its nuclear program and open its facilities to broad international inspection.
Sullivan said a breakthrough with Iran was not expected during the General Assembly, but Biden would make it clear in his speech that a deal could still be struck “if Iran is willing to be serious about its commitments.” He added that administration officials would consult with other signatories to the 2015 accord on the sidelines of meetings this week.
This year’s UN assembly returned to a full-scale in-person event after a two-year shutdown due to the pandemic. In 2020, the face-to-face meeting was canceled and leaders gave pre-recorded speeches instead; last year was a mix of in-person and pre-recorded performances. Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were scheduled to host a leaders’ reception Wednesday night.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has decided not to attend this year’s UN meeting, but his country’s behavior and intentions will be important during the leaders’ talks.
Last month, the UN human rights office expressed concern about possible “crimes against humanity” in China’s western region against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups. Beijing has vowed to suspend cooperation with the office and denounced what it called a Western conspiracy to undermine China’s rise.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government said Monday that Biden’s statement in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that US troops would defend Taiwan if Beijing tried to invade the self-ruled island was a violation of US commitments on the matter, but that does not indicate possible retaliation.
After the interview, the White House said there had been no change in US policy toward Taiwan, which China claims as its own. The policy says Washington wants Taiwan’s status to be resolved peacefully, but does not say whether U.S. forces could be deployed in response to a Chinese attack.
Follow AP’s coverage of the UN General Assembly at https://apnews.com/hub/united-nations-general-assembly