TEHRAN (Tasnim) - US President Joe Biden will speak in-person at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next Tuesday, the White House said, joining a number of other world leaders who plan to attend the annual event amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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The speech will be Biden's first address at the annual diplomatic gathering of his presidency and will offer him an opportunity to send to other leaders the message he has been conveying since the start of his presidency: "America is back" on the world stage. Biden has tried to draw a sharp contrast with his predecessor, former US president Donald Trump, especially when engaging with other world leaders.
The White House announced few details about the Sept. 21 speech, according to The Hill. The 193-member gathering was held largely virtually last year because of COVID-19, with world leaders giving virtual speeches.
This year, the UN is instituting requirements that include mandatory wearing of face masks and access restrictions. Leaders were given the option to deliver messages virtually. While many attendees are likely to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the gathering nevertheless is taking place amidst a surge in the more contagious delta variant, which has spread like wildfire in the US among populations that are not vaccinated.
The Associated Press reported Monday that more than 100 leaders are expected to attend the global gathering in person in New York.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said on CNN over the weekend that Biden would be announcing new steps on global vaccinations ahead of the annual gathering, signaling his speech is likely to focus in part on combatting the virus.
"There will be more actions that we continue to work on in the days ahead, and especially on the global front, where we will be taking steps, and the president will be making announcements ahead of the UN General Assembly about additional measures that we're taking to help vaccinate the world," Murthy said.
Biden on Monday also announced the US representatives for the 76th UN assembly: Tom Carnahan, Sim Farar, and Reps. French Hill (R-Ark.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).