- The Washington Times - Monday, September 20, 2021

President Biden on Monday hammered home the theme of his two-day trip to the United Nations by stressing the need for international cooperation ahead of his meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“The enormity of the task already ahead for each one of us and it’s real, but the vision of the United Nations has never been short on ambition,” Mr. Biden said moments before the meeting.

“Ambition matters,” Mr. Biden continued, calling on world leaders to work together and deliver “economic prosperity, peace and security” across the globe.

Mr. Guterres praised the president for his “strong commitment” to the United Nations and multilateralism.

“The cooperation between the U.S. and the UN is a fundamental pillar of the work of the UN,” he said. “The U.S. with its strong commitment to human rights, its strong commitment to peace and security around the world, its strong commitment to development, cooperation and now, with your leadership, a very strong commitment on climate change, the U.S. represents a fundamental pillar of our activity,” he said.

“And I’d like to assure you, Mr. President, that we want to deepen that cooperation,” he said.

Neither responded to questions shouted by the press.

Mr. Biden’s meeting with Mr. Guterres comes ahead of his first speech as president to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday morning.

The president will talk about how ending the 20-year war in Afghanistan has opened up a new era of “intensive diplomacy” with nations working together to solve issues such as COVID-19, climate change and infrastructure.

Mr. Biden also will hammer home his message that “America is back” after what he has previously described as the unreliable leadership of his predecessor, Donald Trump. That message has been dented, however, by his foreign policy missteps.

The president ignored pleas from other nations to extend his self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline to exit Afghanistan, and France is furious after the U.S. undercut a multi-billion submarine pact it had struck with Australia.

Reaction from world leaders after Mr. Biden’s speech could suggest whether they are willing to move on or still harbor grievances over how those events played out.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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