Published: Sat, February 20, 2021
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US President Joe Biden pledges $2 billion for COVAX

US President Joe Biden pledges $2 billion for COVAX

The president nonetheless faces a hard job persuading allies, many of whom emerged from the Trump years nervous about USA reliability, said James Townsend, a former deputy assistant secretary of Defense now at the Center for a New American Security, a centrist Washington think tank. It appeared to be a reference to Germany's ambivalence about confronting China - a major market for its automobiles and other high-end German products - and to the continuing battle with the United States over the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Russian Federation.

What emerged from the blitz of transatlantic diplomacy was clear agreement on their need to band together to address the challenges posed by China and Russian Federation, even as they acknowledged the need to cooperate with China on other issues.

According to Biden's remarks, democratic progress is under assault in many places, including the USA and Europe, yet the president is convinced that "democracy must prevail". For the president, a regular visitor to the conference even as a private citizen after serving as vice president, the address was something of a homecoming.

Mr Johnson, the Brexit champion, was also keen to highlight his European credentials.

And in a nod to the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and the policies of the president's predecessor, Biden would "acknowledge that democracy is under stress, democratic institutions are under stress, under challenge in the United States" as they are elsewhere, the official told reporters Thursday evening.

President Joe Biden will "take a virtual trip to Europe" with a pair of high-profile engagements aimed at restoring the United States' place on the global stage, after what he views as its absence during President Donald Trump's years in office, according to a senior Biden administration official.

He later insisted his attack on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was a necessary wake-up call for the transatlantic military alliance. "Democracy doesn't happen by accident".

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 added: "We'll keep faith with Article 5 in which an attack on one is an attack on all".

Merkel said that "in recent years, China has gained more power on the global stage, and we as trans-Atlantic partners and democratic countries, we need to react to that".

"In particular multilateralism is boosted through the change in the United States government - the Biden administration has already demonstrated this with its first decisions" on returning to the Paris climate accord as well as lending support once again to the World Health Organization, she said.

"The rise of China is a defining issue for the transatlantic community, with potential consequences for our security, our prosperity and our way of life", Mr Stoltenberg said at the conference. "Our commitment to European security is unconditional and immoveable", he stated.

"The United States is determined, determined to reengage with Europe, to consult with you, earn back our position of trusted leadership", he said.

Hosford expected Biden to choreograph statements with allies but said the administration could also encourage coordinated efforts, such as on sanctions against human rights violators. Now America says it has "become a Pacific power", Macron said, meaning that "we must take more of the burden of our own protection".

"He will make clear in the speech that he's not looking for confrontation, he's not looking for a new Cold War, but he's expecting stiff competition and he welcomes it", the official said.

'Our partnerships have endured and grown through the years because they are rooted in the richness of our shared democratic values. "We will work with our European and other partners as we proceed". While Biden announced he would make good on an American promise to donate $4 billion to the campaign to expedite the manufacturing and distribution of coronavirus vaccines around the world - a move approved a year ago by a Democratic-led House and a Republican led-Senate - there were clear differences in approach during the meeting. Otherwise, "the power of the West, of Europeans and Americans, will be only a concept, and not a reality".

Earlier, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the audience: "When people speak with one voice, governments listen".

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