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Biden is delivering his first UN General Assembly speech as president

Biden is delivering his first UN General Assembly speech as president

September 15, 2021: -On Monday, President Joe Biden, in the coming week, will deliver his first speech before the United Nations General Assembly since he took office, the White House said.

Biden is already traveling to New York City, home to the UN headquarters, on September 21.

One year earlier, then-President Donald Trump’s address to the international institution was delivered virtually, as the pandemic raged in the absence of a viable vaccine.

Trump has downplayed the dangers of the virus in the U.S., bragged about his administration’s efforts which respond to the pandemic, and blamed China for having “unleashed this plague onto the world.”

Biden’s speech at the green speaker’s rostrum will be at a starkly different stage in the pandemic: Multiple vaccines are widely available in the U.S., and almost 179 million Americans have been fully vaccinated for Covid to Centers Disease Control and Prevention data.

But Covid remains a central challenge for the U.S. and the world because of the highly contagious delta variant. Among 4.6 million people have died from Covid worldwide, and over 225 million have been infected.

While 42% of the global population is receiving at least one dose of a Covid vaccine, below 2% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, according to data compiled by Oxford University.

The World Health Organization has criticized wealthy nations for stockpiling vaccines and different health supplies, leaving developing countries languishing and fueling Covid outbreaks around the globe. 

While the U.S. has donated over 110 million doses of Covid vaccines to 60 countries, the White House is under pressure to do more. On Sunday, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that Biden would announce additional steps to fight Covid on the global stage before the General Assembly meets.

Biden’s White House has also come under fire for handling the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. This chaotic and deadly process has spurred criticism and concern even from his allies in the U.S. and internationally.

As U.S. forces moved to come back to Afghanistan, the Taliban swept through the country, which led to the collapse of the U.S.-backed government. The Islamist militants gained ground quicker than the U.S. anticipated, quickly seizing the capital city of Kabul, where thousands had gathered in the desperate hope of evacuating the country.

Thirteen U.S. service members and dozens of others were killed in a suicide bombing near airport days in Kabul before the withdrawal was complete.

In the end, the U.S. and its allies have moved over 124,000 people, which include 6,000 U.S. citizens, out of Afghanistan, the State Department said in the previous week. The exact number of U.S.-linked Afghans evacuated remains unclear.

The 76th regular session of the UN General Assembly will convene a week before Biden’s speech, which starts on Tuesday.

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