The cost of conflict on food and energy prices has accelerated calls in the developing world in favor of a negotiated solution. And support among Americans. The public has been declining as a segment of the Republican Party criticizes the war effort estimated $73 billion price tag.
But Biden, who will address the assembly on Tuesday, will have the help of the most charismatic voice in the conflict: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who also will visit New York to raise awareness of Russian atrocities and emphasize how the Kremlin’s invasion violates the United Nations’ most sacred principle of border sovereignty, a cause he hopes will unite all countries fearful of coercion by a bigger neighbor.
“President Biden looks forward to hearing President Zelensky’s perspective on all of this and reaffirming for the world and for the United States, for the American people, his commitment to continue to lead the world in supporting Ukraine,” the national security adviser said. from the White House, Jake. Sullivan said Friday, previewing Biden’s activities for the week.
An important arrow in Biden’s quiver is the relatively low attendance of the United States’ main adversaries at the meeting. Russian President Vladimir Putin facing an arrest warrant of the International Criminal Court, will not fly to New York and neither will the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, nor his top diplomat, Wang Yi.
The meeting, known colloquially as the Super Bowl of global diplomacy, is one of the best opportunities to develop countries that are not invited to meetings of rich nations like the Group of Seven to express their concerns about world affairs. The vacancies will offer Biden and Zelensky the opportunity to dominate the agenda and lend a sympathetic ear to leaders of less wealthy nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, a region often called the Global South.
The key to achieving this will be what Biden plans meet on Wednesday with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a prominent advocate of the Global South who has called for peace talks in Ukraine and accused the West of prolonging the conflict by providing weapons and military equipment to Kiev. “The United States must stop fomenting war and start talking about peace,” Lula said in the spring.
Sullivan has made clear that the United States will continue to provide military support to Ukraine and discourage what he sees as premature calls for peace talks, even as battle lines in Ukraine harden and Kiev’s forces appear less likely to cut off Russia’s land bridge. towards Crimea. , a key Russian military transit route.
“From our perspective, our job is to provide Ukraine with the tools it needs to be in the best position possible on the battlefield, so that it can be in the best position possible at the negotiating table,” Sullivan said.
The US intelligence community assesses that Ukraine will not be enough the city of Melitopol in its current offensive. Last week, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying Ukrainian troops may only have “30 to 45 days of combat time left” in the current offensive.
On Sunday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told German media that the conflict would not have a quick end. “Most wars last longer than expected when they start,” he told the Funke media group. “We all wish for a quick peace.”
By contrast, at last year’s UN meeting, Ukrainian diplomats arrived in New York with the wind at their back, as Kiev forces pushed back Russian forces around the southern city of Kherson and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, recovering valuable territory.
Still, Milley and other senior U.S. officials have said Ukrainian troops are “not finished” and continue to make “steady progress.”
While most UN member states have voted to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many in the Global South are increasingly concerned about the prospects of endless stalemate. A bloc of nations in Africa and Latin America maintain economic and diplomatic ties with the Kremlin and resist imposing Western sanctions for fear of the economic impact.
“The default position among most UN members is that we need to negotiate an end to the war,” said Richard Gowan, a UN expert at the International Crisis Group. “If Zelensky sits on the UN Security Council and says we will continue fighting forever, that will create a clear dissonance with many non-Western countries struggling with debt and poverty and who feel their problems are being overshadowed.”
Sullivan, the national security adviser, disputed the idea that there is a significant delta between the United States’ position and the developing world, saying that American diplomats have worked hard to close the gap. “In fact, we believe that over the course of the last few months we have built strong engagement and dialogue with the Global South about what a just peace ultimately looks like,” he said. “It doesn’t seem like Russia is taking this particularly seriously at the moment.”
One of the main US adversaries who traveled to New York is Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, whose nation has provided Russia with a fleet of self-detonating Shahed drones that have threatened Ukrainian troops and population centers. Raisi told a small group of journalists in New York on Monday that Iran is “against the war in Ukraine. Period.”
However, when asked about Iran’s military support for Russia, he appeared coy and asked the assembled journalists to show evidence, while noting that Tehran has had a complex relationship with Moscow that predates the war.
Beyond Ukraine, Biden’s speech to the world body is expected to tout his administration’s record of global leadership.
The president will also meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday as the two allies face a series of challenges stemming from The most right-wing government in the history of Israel. Biden and many Democrats in Congress criticize Netanyahu’s plan to reform Israel’s judiciary, who fear that it threatens the country’s democracy. Netanyahu has also repeatedly rejected Biden’s requests to halt settlement expansion in the West Bank and allow the United States to reopen a consulate in Jerusalem to serve Palestinians.
In light of these divisions, Biden has kept his distance from the Israeli leader, and the meeting in New York will be their first tête-à-tête since Netanyahu won the election last fall.
This week, Biden will also become the first American president to meet alongside leaders of the five Central Asian countries of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Discussions with those five countries, sometimes collectively called the “Stans,” are expected to focus on issues of trade, climate change and regional security. Biden will also speak with UN Secretary General António Guterres.
After the meetings in New York, Zelensky Follow Biden back to Washington as both leaders make arguments before Congress to approve additional funds for Ukraine. Biden is seeking a package of more than $24 billion in funding that includes $13.1 billion in military aid, $8.5 billion for humanitarian support and $2.3 billion for the government’s financial needs.
The package faces opposition among some House Republicans, but Republican leaders say Zelensky’s visit will likely be “very, very persuasive,” Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CBS News on Sunday. “Zelensky is a great spokesperson. He really presents the case better than anyone.”
The White House agrees on that, although Zelensky’s requests for support occasionally rankle the Oval Office.
“He has demonstrated over the course of the last 18 or 19 months that there is no better advocate for his country, for his people, and for the urgent and continuing need for countries like the United States and our allies and partners to step forward. provide the necessary tools and resources that Ukraine needs,” Sullivan said.