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Joe Biden Declares America, Transatlantic Alliance "Back"

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Last year, the audience at the major annual foreign policy gathering at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof reacted with stunned silence to a speech by then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in which he rejected assertions by European leaders, including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, that U.S. President Donald Trump had turned his back on European allies.

"I am a defender of European sovereignty, of strategic autonomy, not because I'm against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation or because I doubt our American friends, but because I am lucid on the state of the world", Macron said in an interview with the Financial Times. "He wants to undermine the Trans-Atlantic unity and our resolve because it's so much easier for the Kremlin to bully and threaten individual states than it is to negotiate with the strong and closely united Trans-Atlantic community", Biden said, speaking at the virtual Munich Security Conference on Friday, February 19.

"Democracy doesn't happen by accident", the president told the security conference. "It's the single best way to revitalize the promise of our future".

The call with the group of seven is a chance for Biden to project a message of global re-engagement after four years of former President Donald Trump's America First policies, an unorthodox approach to foreign policy.

With regard to China, the world's second-largest economy, Biden will urge democracies to work together to push back against practices and policies of the Chinese government that he will describe as "economically abusive and. counter to our values".

Earlier, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said preparations were underway for the first call between President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Joe Biden.

Biden emphasised that major market economies and democracies must work together to tackle challenges posed by great-power competitors like Russian Federation and China, and challenges ranging from nuclear proliferation to climate change and cybersecurity.

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

To that end, the White House said Biden would be encouraging G-7 partners to make good on their pledges to COVAX, an initiative by the World Health Organization to improve access to vaccines, even as he reopens the USA spigot.

Their unison represented a marked contrast to the tepid relationships Trump had with key US allies.

The Biden administration had already signaled a break from Trump's nationalist approach. And on Friday he plans to make clear his markedly different approach to Russia, China and Iran, the official told reporters.

Collective strength, Biden said, is the only way to succeed when a worldwide contest between democracy and autocracy is at an "inflection point".

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

Iran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency this week that it would suspend voluntary implementation next week of a provision in the 2015 deal that allowed United Nations nuclear monitors to conduct inspections of undeclared sites in Iran at short notice unless the US rolled back sanctions by February 23.

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 was making his first big appearance on the global stage as president, offering allies and other foreign leaders a glimpse into his plans to dramatically reshape U.S. foreign policy even as he deals with a number of worldwide crises that are coming to a head.

The official said Thursday night "we are keen to sit down and hear what the Iranians have to say". He did not say whether he would stick to the deal.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keen to build ties with Biden, who did not support Brexit and who, as a presidential candidate, a year ago publicly warned Britain against endangering peace in Ireland.

As of Friday, the US will officially be a party to the Paris climate accord again, the administration official said.

As a candidate, Biden promised to return the U.S.to its position "at the head of the table", restoring it as a world leader on issues ranging from climate change to transnational terrorism.

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