Biden to host world leaders at December summit on democracy

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WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden will convene a summit with leaders from democratic nations on Dec 9 and 10 as part of a sustained effort to shore up the foundation of such governments, the White House said on Wednesday (Aug 11).

The summit “will bring together heads of state, civil society, philanthropy and the private sector,” to discuss “the challenges facing democracy so as to collectively strengthen the foundation for democratic renewal,” with a follow-up, in-person session one year later, it said in a statement.

He did not give details of the list of countries invited to the summit, which is being seen as an alternative to the G-20 and a challenge to Beijing.

The leaders of the G-20, whose composition is determined by economic weight and includes authoritarian regimes such as China and Saudi Arabia, are due to meet at the end of October in Italy.

Biden has said that “the challenge of our time is to demonstrate that democracies can deliver by improving the lives of their own people and by addressing the greatest problems facing the wider world,” according to the statement.

The president has repeatedly signalled his desire to once again assume the role of “leader of the free world” traditionally assigned to the occupant of the White House, but which his predecessor Donald Trump never wanted, preferring instead to put “America First”.

The White House described the summit as “an opportunity for world leaders to listen to one another and to their citizens, share successes, drive international collaboration, and speak honestly about the challenges facing democracy.”

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