Biden declares America, transatlantic alliance 'back'

REUTERS

US President Joe Biden indicated Friday he is ready to reengage with Iran on the 2015 nuclear accord, which was abandoned by the Trump administration and which Iran has since been avowedly breaching.

Biden will underscore that democracies, not autocracies, offer the best path forward for the world, after the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters made clear that democracy was fragile.

Joe Biden issued a triumphant rallying call during the Munich Security Conference but failed to mention the UK.

"He will get the opportunity as president of the United States, early in his term, to declare that America is back and the transatlantic alliance is back", the official said.

Biden, who earlier spoke to leaders from the G7 club of wealthy democracies, said his administration was again stressing alliance building, in contrast to Trump's isolationist policies and abrasive treatment of U.S. partners.

Biden will drive home his view that major market economies and democracies must work together to tackle challenges posed by great-power competitors like Russian Federation and China, as well as transnational challenges ranging from nuclear proliferation to climate change and cybersecurity, the official said.

Biden reaffirmed the US commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Article V, the mutual-defense promise among treaty members that has been a pillar of the postwar democratic order but which former President Trump had only grudgingly embraced.

He went on: "If we work together with our democratic partners, with strength and confidence, I know that we will meet every challenge and outpace every challenger".

"Our partnerships have endured and grown through the years because they are rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values", Biden said.


Biden is set to pledge $4 billion to the World Health Organization's COVAX scheme, a global initiative which aims to ramp up COVID-19 vaccination in poorer countries.

Rolling back Trump's nationalist policies has already become a hallmark of Biden's short time at the White House. And on Friday he plans to make clear his markedly different approach to Russia, China and Iran, the official told reporters.

Biden addressed economic and national security challenges posed by Russian Federation and China. "Everyone, everyone must play by the same rules".

On Thursday, the State Department said it was open to talks with Iran about its nuclear program, and Biden echoed that message Friday. "We must also address Iran's destabilizing activities across the Middle East, and we're going to work in close cooperation with our European and other partners as we proceed".

© Christopher Black/WHO via Reuters, FILE Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization attends a news conference on the outbreak of coronavirus disease in Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 12, 2021.

Biden announced the USA intention of rejoining the accord on the first day of his presidency, but he had to wait 30 days for the move to go into effect.

"The fear is not that we do too much, it's that we do too little", the official said. He did not say whether he would stick to the deal.

The speech, following a videoconference of G7 leaders convened by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, marked a triumphant return to the world stage for Biden, the former vice president and globetrotting senator who long chaired the Foreign Relations Committee while in Congress.

He has returned the United States to worldwide agreements and organizations his predecessor left - including the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accord, which the US will officially become a party to again on Friday after Trump had pulled it out. He argued that Trump had ceded that role to other nations during his four years in office.

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