President Joe Biden speak during the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City (Picture: AP)
President Joe Biden in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly called on allies to unite to combat the coronavirus pandemic and climate change rather than ‘continuing to fight the wars of the past’.
Speaking from New York City on Tuesday morning, Biden urged world leaders to focus on ‘ending this pandemic, managing the climate crisis’ and handling shifts in global power.
Biden also called for allies to unite against emerging technological threats and the growing influence of China and Russia.
‘No matter how challenging or how complex the problems we’re going to face, government by and for the people is still the best way to deliver for all of our people,’ Biden said.
‘Our security, our prosperity and our very freedoms are interconnected, in my view, as never before.’
The president doubled down on his decisions around Afghanistan and advocated for diplomacy over military action.
‘We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan and as we close this period of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy,’ Biden said, adding that leaders should ‘invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world’.
Biden acknowledged the deaths of 13 US service members at the Kabul airport in late August as America pulled out of Afghanistan. But he called for a shift in the US’s approach to threats abroad.
‘The world today is not the world of 2001 though. The US is not the same country we were when we were attacked on 9/11 20 years ago,’ Biden said. ‘Today we are better equipped to detect and prevent terrorist attacks nd we are more resilient in our ability to repel them and respond’.
Biden said that ‘the US military should be used as a tool of last resort’.
‘We are not seeking a new cold war, a world divided,’ he said.
The 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly convened as the world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, as superpowers become more polarized and the divide between the rich and poor widens.
In his opening remarks, Secretary General António Guterres said ‘we are on the edge of an abyss and moving in the wrong direction’.
Biden was the first to speak before the 193-member General Assembly. China’s President Xi Jinping is one of the last leaders scheduled to speak.
Biden is set to meet with the prime ministers of Australia and the UK separately on Tuesday afternoon.
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