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US President Joe Biden to deliver first UNGA address today


US President Joe Biden to deliver first UNGA address today

Photo: Doug Mills/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

US President Joe Biden will deliver his first address since taking office to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) today.

According to a briefing by US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Biden’s speech will cover a variety of topics. Combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling climate change, protecting human rights, defending democracy and returning to a rules-based international order will all feature prominently.

Biden’s predecessor, President Donald Trump, often used his UNGA speeches to vocalize his complaints with the UN. Trump withdrew US support from various UN-authorized efforts during his presidency, including the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate agreement.

Expect Biden to use his speech to attempt to reset US-UN relations. UN-fostered international cooperation is critical for Biden as he seeks to lead the international community in overcoming challenges presented by issues like climate change and COVID-19. Further, the unilateral US withdrawal from Afghanistan diminished Biden’s reputation as an advocate for multilateralism. As such, expect Biden to use his speech to reaffirm US commitment to the UN, repositioning America as a leader of the global order. While Biden is likely to repair US ties with the UN, long-term the relationship will require extra attention given its recent stresses.

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