The US has ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan and as Washington closes this period of “relentless war”, it is opening a new era of “relentless diplomacy” to lift people up around the world and renew and defend democracy, US President Joe Biden said today.
In his maiden address to the high-level 76th UN General Assembly, Mr Biden told world leaders and diplomats gathered in the General Assembly hall that in his view the world is at an “inflection point in history”.
“Instead of continuing to fight the wars of the past, we are fixing our eyes and devoting our resources to the challenges that hold the keys to our collective future – ending this pandemic, addressing the climate crisis, managing the shifts in global power dynamics, shaping the rules of the world on vital issues like trade, cyber, and emerging technologies and facing the threat of terrorism as it stands today.
“We’ve ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan and as we close this period of relentless war, we’re opening a new era of relentless diplomacy; of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world; of renewing and defending democracy; of proving that no matter how challenging or how complex the problems you’re going to face, government by and for the people is still the best way to deliver for all of our people,” he said.
Mr Biden referred to the UN Security Council resolution on Afghanistan, adopted under India’s Presidency of the 15-nation UN organ last month, and said that while the United States will do its part, but “we’re more successful and more impactful if all of our nations are working” together.
“That’s why more than a 100 nations united to get around a shared statement when the Security Council adopted a resolution outlining how we will support the people of Afghanistan moving forward, laying out expectations to which we will hold the Taliban when it comes to respecting universal human rights.
“We all must advocate for the rights of women and girls to use their full talents, to contribute economically, politically, socially and pursue their dreams free of violence and intimidation, from Central America to the Middle East, Africa to Afghanistan, wherever it appears in the world,” he said.
“We all must call out and condemn the targeting and oppression of racial, ethnic and religious minorities, whether it occurs in Xinjiang (in China) or Northern Ethiopia, or anywhere in the world,” Mr Biden said.
He said, “I stand here today for the first time in 20 years with the United States not at war. We’ve turned the page. All the unmatched strength, energy, commitment, will and resources of our nation are now fully and squarely focused on what’s ahead of us. Not what was behind.
“As we look ahead, we will lead, we will lead on all the greatest challenges of our time from COVID to climate, peace and security, human dignity and human rights but we will not go alone. We will lead together with our allies and partners and in cooperation of all those who believe as we do that this is within our power to meet these challenges, to build a future and lift all of our people and preserve this planet,” the US president said.