Biden to outline foreign policy at G-7 Munich summit

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Joe Biden makes his first major appearance on the world stage as president on Friday, giving Group of Seven allies and other foreign leaders a glimpse of his plans to radically reshape US foreign policy then it even deals with a number of international crises which are reaching their climax.

Ahead of Biden’s virtual appearances at a G-7 meeting and the Munich security conference, the White House has sought to stress that the new administration will act swiftly to reorient the United States away from Donald Trump’s mantra. “America First” by announcing major reversals of Trump. administration policies.

Biden was to use his speech at the Munich conference to stress that the United States is ready to resume talks on the reinstatement of the 2015 Iranian multilateral nuclear deal abandoned by the Trump administration. The Biden administration on Thursday announced its desire to re-engage Iran and took steps at the United Nations to restore the policy to what it was before President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the deal in 2018..

Biden also had to address the economic and national security challenges posed by Russia and China, as well as the two-decade war in Afghanistan, where he faces a May 1 deadline to withdraw the remaining 2,500 US troops under the framework. of a peace agreement negotiated by the Trump administration with. the taliban.

“Our partnerships have endured and developed over the years because they are rooted in the richness of our common democratic values,” said Biden, according to excerpts from remarks prepared at the Munich conference published by the White House. “They are not transactional. They are not extractive. They are based on a vision of the future where every voice counts. “

His message had to be surrounded by an underlying argument that democracies – not autocracies – are models of governance that can best meet the challenges of the moment, according to a senior administration official who presented the speech. from the president to journalists.

“We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future direction of our world,” Biden will say, according to the excerpts. “Between those who argue that – given all the challenges we face, from the Fourth Industrial Revolution to a global pandemic – autocracy is the best way forward and those who understand that democracy is essential to meet these challenges .

At the G-7, administration officials said, Biden was focusing on what lies ahead for the international community as it attempts to extinguish public health and the economic crises created by the coronavirus pandemic.. White House officials have said Biden will tell the G-7 that the United States will soon begin releasing $ 4 billion for an international effort to scale up the procurement and distribution of coronavirus vaccine to poor countries, a program that Trump refused to support.

The G-7 and the annual security conference are being held virtually because of the pandemic.

Biden’s turn on the world stage comes as the United States officially joins the Paris climate agreement on Friday, the biggest international effort to reduce global warming. Trump announced in June 2017 that he was withdrawing the United States from the landmark deal, arguing that it would undermine the US economy.

Biden announced U.S. intention to join deal on the first day of his presidency, but he had to wait 30 days for the move to take effect. He said he would mainstream climate change considerations into all major domestic and foreign policy decisions his administration faces.

His first foray into international summits will inevitably be seen by some as a simple attempt to correct the course of Trump’s agenda. The new president, however, has made it clear that his domestic and foreign policy agenda will not simply be an erasure of the Trump years.

“I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump,” Biden lamented earlier this week at a CNN town hall in Milwaukee.

Biden, on the campaign trail, vowed to reaffirm American leadership in the international community, a role Trump often shied away from while complaining that the United States was too often exploited by freelance allies.

To that end, the White House said Biden will encourage G-7 partners to keep their promises to COVAX, a World Health Organization initiative to improve access to vaccines, even as it reopens. the American tap.

Trump had withdrawn the United States from the WHO and refused to join more than 190 countries in the COVAX program. The former Republican president accused the WHO of covering up China’s missteps in handling the virus at the start of the public health crisis that destroyed a strong US economy.

It remains to be seen how the G-7 allies will respond to Biden’s calls for greater international cooperation on vaccine distribution given that the United States has refused to take part in the initiative under Trump and there is has growing calls for the Democratic administration to distribute products made in the United States. supplies of vaccines abroad.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the United States and European countries to allocate up to 5% of the current vaccine supply to developing countries – the type of vaccine diplomacy that China and Russia have started to deploy.

And earlier this week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres sharply criticized the “extremely uneven and unfair” distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, noting that 10 countries have administered 75% of all vaccinations.

Biden, who announced last week that the United States would have enough vaccine by the end of July to immunize 300 million people, remains focused for now on making sure every American is vaccinated, administration officials said.

The Allies will also listen carefully to what Biden has to say about a looming crisis with Iran.

Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency this week that it will next week suspend the voluntary implementation of a provision of the 2015 agreement that allowed UN nuclear observers to conduct inspections of undeclared sites in Iran at short notice unless the United States backs off sanctions by February 23.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told his counterparts in France, Germany and the UK on Thursday that the US is ready to enter into talks with Iran with the aim of reaching a return agreement full compliance with the 2015 nuclear agreement, according to a joint press release. declaration of the three nations.

Trump withdrew the United States from the pact brokered by the Obama administration and renewed sanctions against Tehran, a move Biden, as a candidate, called myopic and dangerous.

But the joint statement by Blinken and the other ministers made it clear that the Biden administration continues to expect Iran to return to full compliance with the 2015 agreement before the United States re-engages. He also urged Iran to “consider the consequences of such serious action, especially in this time of new diplomatic opportunities.”

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