Biden promises America will be the ‘largest single country donor’ of humanitarian assistance and vows to ‘climate proof’ the world in UN General Assembly address
President Joe Biden pledged that the U.S would remain the ‘largest single country donor’ of humanitarian assistance and vowed to help ‘climate proof’ the world in his address to United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.
His calls come as Republicans in Washington and on the campaign trail say they’d trim international aid budgets, as Nikki Haley has, and throw climate cautions to the wind, as Vivek Ramaswamy suggested at the first GOP debate.
Biden also talked up the success of PEPFAR – the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – as its reauthorization is at stake over conservative claims that it supports abortion abroad.
‘We saved tens of millions of lives that would otherwise be lost to preventable and treatable diseases like measles, malaria and tuberculosis,’ Biden said, championing what countries have been able to do collectively. ‘HIV/AIDS infections and deaths plummeted in no small part becuase PEPFAR’s work in more than 55 countries, saving more than 25 million lives.’
Biden acknowledged that while the globe had seen decades of progress ‘the world has lost ground these past years in the wake of COVID-19, conflicts and other crises.’
President Joe Biden pledged that the U.S would remain the ‘largest single country donor’ of humanitarian assistance and vowed to help ‘climate proof’ the world in his address to United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday
During his remarks at UNGA, President Joe Biden referenced the recent ‘tragic, tragic’ flooding in Libya (pictured) as he talked about the horrors of climate change that will keep coming if world fails to act
‘The United States is committing to doing its part to get us back on track,’ the president said.
He touted the $100 billion already given toward development during his firts two years in office.
‘And as we work together to recover from global shocks, the United States will also continue to be the largest single country donor of humanitarian assistance at this moment of unparalleled need in the world,’ the president said.
He noted that the climate crisis was the most pressing issue.
‘We see it everywhere. Record breaking heat waves in the United States and China, wildfires ravaging North America and southern Europe, a fifth year of drought in the Horn of Africa, tragic, tragic flooding in Libya,’ Biden said. ‘My heart goes out to the people of Libya. It’s killed thousands – thousands of people.’
‘Together these snapshots show an urgent story of what awaits us if we fail to reduce our dependance on fossil fuels and [don’t] begin to climate-proof the world,’ he noted.
He pointed to last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, which was passed by Democrats only.
Biden touted it as ‘the largest investment ever anywhere in the history of the world to combat the climate crisis and help move the global economy toward a clean energy future.’
The bigger headline to come out of Biden’s address to UNGA was his warning Tuesday that no nation is safe if Ukraine is ‘carved up’ by Russia.
Biden addressed a crowd that included both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky – dressed in his traditional military fatigues – and Russian Amb. Vaisily Nebenzya in the audience.
The U.S. president hammered Russia’s ‘naked agression’ and vowed to keep funding Kyiv as he again called the present moment ‘an inflection point in world history.’
Biden noted that ‘for a second year in a row, this gathering dedicated to peaceful resolution of conflict is darkened by the shadow of war.’
The president called it ‘an illegal war of conquest’ and one that was ‘brought without provocation’ by Russia into Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky watched as President Joe Biden told the United Nations General Assembly that no nation is safe if the world allowed for Ukraine to be ‘carved up’ by Russia
Russian ambassador to the United Nations Vaisily Nebenzya was captured looking at his phone as President Joe Biden addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday and slammed Russia over the invasion of Ukraine
‘Like every nation in the world the United States wants this war to end,’ he said. ‘No nation wants this war to end more than Ukraine. And we strongly support Ukraine and its efforts to bring about a diplomatic resolution that delivers just and lasting peace.’
But he said that ‘Russia alone, Russia alone bears responsibility for this war.’
‘Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately. And it’s Russia alone that stands in the way of peace because the Russians’ price for peace is Ukraine’s capitulation, Ukraine’s territory and Ukraine’s children,’ Biden said.
‘Russia believes that the world will grow weary and will allow it to brutalize Ukraine without conseqence,’ the president added.
Biden then laid out what he thought would be the cost of that weariness.
‘But I ask you this, if we abandon the core principles of the United States to appease an aggressor, can any member state in this body feel confident that they are protected?’ he asked.
‘If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?’ the president mused.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky applauds as President Joe Biden blasts Russia for the war in Ukraine during his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday
President Joe Biden addressed the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday in New York
‘I respectfully suggest the answer is no,’ Biden said. ‘We have to stand up to this naked aggression today and deter other would-be aggressors tomorrow.’
He didn’t call out Russian President Vladimir Putin by name.
‘That’s why the United States, together with our allies and partners around the world will continue to stand with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereignty and territorial integrity and their freedom,’ Biden said.
He received applause from the audience for this pronouncement.
However the pool reporter in the room also observed UNGA attendees on their phones checking Instagram and Google maps during the president’s address.
Nebenzya was also spotted on his phone during Biden’s speech.
Biden called sovereignty and territorial integrity a ‘fixed foundation of this noble body.’
‘And universal human rights, its north star.’
He touched on that concept thoughout that speech, including by advocating for LGBTQ people globally.
‘These rights are part of our shared humanity … when they are absent anywhere, their loss is felt everywhere,’ he said.
The president also reiterated that the U.S. didn’t want conflict with China.
‘When it comes to China I want to be clear and consistent, we seek to responsibility manage competition between our countries, so it does not tip into conflict,’ Biden said. ‘I’ve said we are for derisking not decoupling with China.’
Biden started his address by speaking about his trip to Vietnam last week – a taste of what post-war relations could look like if Russia withdrew from Ukraine.
‘Nothing about that journey was inevitable,’ Biden said. ‘For decades, it would have been unthinkable for an American president to stand in Hanoi, alongside a Vietnamese leader, and announce a mutual commitment to the highest level of countries’ partnership.’
‘But it’s a powerful reminder that our history need not dictate our future,’ the president said. ‘With the concerted leadership, careful effort, adversaries can become partners, overwhelming challenges can be resolved and deep wounds can heal.’