Washington (AFP) – President Joe Biden will seek to wrap up his two-day virtual summit on Friday, highlighting the importance of election integrity in the fight against authoritarian regimes and the promotion of independent media.
On the first day of the summit, Biden announced plans for the United States to invest $424 million worldwide in support of independent media and anti-corruption campaigns, among other things. He called on world rulers to work with him to reverse what he described as the collapse of democracy around the world.
“Are we going to allow rights and democracy to continue unchecked?” Biden said Thursday. “Or do we, together, have a vision…and the courage to once again lead the march forward of progress and human freedom?”
The President plans to deliver his final address to civil society leaders and groups on Friday afternoon.
Biden did not mention China and Russia by name when he began the summit. But he has repeatedly pointed out that the United States and its allies need to show the world that democracies are a much better vehicle for societies than authoritarian regimes. It is a central tenet of Biden’s foreign policy perspective, which he promised would be more open-minded than his predecessor Donald Trump’s “America First” approach.
Biden noted that even established democracies, such as the United States, were not immune to threats.
“Here in the United States, we know as well as we know that renewing our democracy and strengthening our democratic institutions requires a sustained effort,” the president said.
Associated Press reporters Lisa Mascaro in Washington, Justin Spike in Budapest, Munir Ahmed in Islamabad, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and video producer Liu Zheng in Beijing contributed to this report.
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