President Biden will address the United Nations General Assembly in New York Wednesday morning, where he plans to describe his “vision for American foreign policy and principled leadership in the world,” while offering a “firm rebuke” of Russia’s war against Ukraine and urging the world to continue to stand against its aggression.
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the president arrived in New York “with the wind at his back.”
“We’re making historic investments here at home. Our alliances are as strong or stronger than they have been in modern memory. Our robust united support for Ukraine has helped the Ukrainians push back against Russian aggression,” Sullivan said Tuesday while previewing the president’s address to reporters.
“And we’re leading the world in response to the most significant transnational challenges that the world faces from global health to global food security to global supply chains to tackling the climate crisis.
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“Meanwhile, our competitors are facing increasingly strong headwinds, and neither President Xi nor President Putin are even showing up for this global gathering,” Sullivan added.
During his address, Biden is expected to underscore the importance of strengthening the United Nations, continuing to invest in and address global food insecurity and lay out how the United States has “restored its global leadership and integrity” on the world stage.
Sullivan said Biden will stress the importance of continuing to stand against Russian efforts and “stand firmly with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”
“Among other things, he’ll offer a firm rebuke of Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine and make a call to the world to continue to stand against the naked aggression that we’ve seen these past several months,” Sullivan said.
When asked if Biden would discuss taking steps to remove Russia as a member of the U.N. Security Council, Sullivan said that is “not something” Biden will raise during his speech but stressed that “the world can see that when a permanent member acts in this way, it strikes at the heart of the U.N. Security Council.”
“And so that should lead everyone collectively to put pressure on Moscow to change course,” Sullivan said.
As for China and Taiwan, Sullivan maintained that the Biden administration continues to “stand behind the One China policy,” and also continues to “stand against unilateral changes to the status quo,” and stand for “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
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“The president has reiterated those basic commitments on every occasion that he’s talked about Taiwan,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan said that Biden will address his support for “democracy and his belief that democracy, and not autocracy, is the model that best delivers both for its own citizens and against transnational challenges.”
“That will continue to be a hallmark of President Biden’s foreign policy and a hallmark of any major address that he gives around it,” Sullivan said, adding that, for every country in the world, whether a democracy or an autocracy, “they’ve all signed up to the principles of the U.N. charter.”
Last year, during his first address to UNGA, Biden said the world stood “at an inflection point in history,” and called it a “decisive decade” in which the U.S. intended to “lead on all of the greatest challenges of our time.”
Biden addressed a number of shared global challenges — as he plans to do Wednesday — including the COVID-19 pandemic, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, emerging technologies and climate change.
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Since his first address, Russia mounted a months-long war against Ukraine, and China has become increasingly more aggressive in the Indo-Pacific.
As for nuclear proliferation, the Biden administration has engaged in negotiations to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, known as the Iran nuclear deal. The Iran nuclear deal contains no provisions to stop Tehran’s sponsorship of terrorism across the globe.
Former President Trump’s administration withdrew from the deal in 2018.
During his speech, Biden will communicate that the United States is prepared for “mutual compliance” and a return to the JCPOA.
“If Iran is prepared to be serious about fulfilling its obligations and accepting that formula, we could have a deal,” Sullivan said, adding that the Biden administration will have “opportunities” to consult with European allies in New York during UNGA.
“Iran, of course, will be having its own engagements, not with any of the American delegation, but with other delegations, including the Europeans,” Sullivan said. “We’ll see if anything comes of that.”
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Sullivan added: “I don’t expect a breakthrough in New York because it’s not the main venue for moving the jackpot forward.”
Iran is not invited to the UNGA leaders’ reception, Sullivan confirmed.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told CBS News’ “60 Minutes” last week that he believes there is little difference between the nuclear stance of Biden and Trump.
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“The new administration in the U.S., they claim that they are different from the Trump administration,” Raisi said. “They have said it in their messages to us. But we haven’t witnessed any changes in reality.”
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