In first UN address, Biden vows to pursue peaceful resolution to Ethiopia’s conflict

U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday delivered his first address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, New York, and urged the international community to confront global challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, democracy and human rights.

Mr. Biden vowed to continue pressing for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in northern Ethiopia where millions of people are at an increased risk of famine.

“We cannot give up on solving raging civil conflicts, including in Ethiopia and Yemen, where fighting between warring parties is driving famine, horrific violence, human rights violations against civilians, including the unconscionable use of rape as a weapon of war,” President Biden said in his address. “We all must call out and condemn the targeting and oppression of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities when it occurs in — whether it occurs in Xinjiang or northern Ethiopia or anywhere in the world.”

Mr. Biden’s mention of Ethiopia at the UN comes only days after he authorized sanctions against those standing in the way of peace in the Horn of Africa.

In taking action against those undermining peace in Ethiopia and hindering humanitarian assistance or committing human rights abuses, President Biden said the 10-month conflict there had caused immense suffering.

President Biden also mentioned Cameroon in his speech, urging authorities there and elsewhere not to persecute gays and lesbians but treat them with the same dignity accorded to others.

He said the United States will continue to protect and defend human rights around the world, including in Afghanistan where the Taliban are now in power.

“We all must support the rights of women and girls to use their full talents,” Biden said as he called on the world to defend the civil rights of all people.

The American leader also praised the people in Zambia who voted out the President there and those in Sudan who removed a dictator from power, asserting that corruption and dictatorship should be confronted head-on.

More broadly, in his speech, Mr. Biden called for international unity and “relentless diplomacy”, saying that working along allies is the best path ahead.

He said America is back at the table, ready to confront the challenges of the future, but insisted that the United States will not go it alone.

“We will lead not just by the example of our power, but god willing, by the power of our example,” Biden said.

President Biden also reiterated that he will be announcing “additional commitments” to help vaccinate the world against COVID-19 at Wednesday’s summit.

“We need to act now to get shots in arms as soon as possible,” Biden said, adding that the U.S. has already put $15 billion in the global COVID-19 vaccine response.

President Biden also called on leaders to tackle the climate crisis, saying that the world must raise our “collective ambitious over time.”

Biden announced that he wants Congress to “double” its commitment toward global financing to fight climate change to meet a $100 billion worldwide goal.

Without mentioning China by name, President Biden said the U.S. “will compete and compete vigorously,” and oppose attempts by stronger countries to dominate weaker one.

But, he insisted that the United States is “not seeking a new Cold War” without mentioning China.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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