UN General Assembly 2021: Live updates and livestream

(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
(Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

President Biden told world leaders that his country is focused squarely on the future, noting that ending the war in Afghanistan was a step in moving in that direction.

“These are the challenges that we will determine what the world looks like for our children and grandchildren and what they’ll inherit. We can only meet them by looking to the future. I stand here today for the first time in 20 years with the United States not at war. We’ve turned the page,” Biden said. 

“All the unmatched strength, energy and commitment, will and resources of our nation are now fully and squarely focused on what’s ahead of us, not what was behind,” he continued.

Biden said the US is looking to lead on the global stage, but with the help of its allies and partners.

“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 it alone,” he told the United Nations. “We’ll lead together with our allies and partners and in cooperation with all those who believe as we do, that this is within our power to meet these challenges, to build a future, to lift all of our people and preserve this planet. But none of this is inevitable. It’s a choice.”

“I can tell you where America stands, we will choose to build a better future, we, you and I. We have the will and capacity to make it better,” he continued. “Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot afford to waste any more time. Let’s get to work. Let’s make our better future now. It’s within our power and our capacity.”

Earlier in his speech: US President described his worldview of a “new era of relentless diplomacy” in his first remarks to the United Nations General Assembly as President, calling on the world to work together on shared challenges.

Calling it a “moment intermingled with great pain and extraordinary possibility” amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Biden said the “shared grief is a poignant reminder that our collective future will hinge on our ability to recognize our common humanity, and act together.”

Biden reiterated his belief that it is an “inflection point in history” and the dawn of “what must be a decisive decade for the world.”

He framed the moment as an opportunity for the world’s democracies, echoing sentiments casting this time in history as a question of whether democracy can prevail over autocracy.

“Will we affirm and uphold the human dignity and human rights under which nations and common cause more than seven decades ago formed this institution?” Biden asked. He continued, “Or, allow these universal principles to be trampled and twisted in the pursuit of naked political power? In my view, how we answer these questions in this moment, whether we choose to fight for our shared future or not, will reverberate for generations yet to come.”

The President called on world leaders to work together to defeat the pandemic and take steps toward preventing the next pandemic, combat climate change, strengthen the UN charter and human rights globally, and collaborate on trade, cyber, emerging technologies, and the threat of terrorism.

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