Biden at G7 will pledge $4B for global vaccines, stress US commitment to multilateralism

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President Biden on Friday plans to reinforce a U.S. commitment to engaging with the international community during virtual meetings of the G7 and the Munich Security Conference.

Biden’s plans include announcing an initial $2 billion donation to the World Health Organization’s COVAX program, which aims to distribute vaccines around the world, senior administration officials said. A later donation would raise the total to $4 billion.

While speaking with world leaders, Biden plans to focus on the coronavirus pandemic, its worldwide economic fallout and the climate crisis.

“Now he will get the opportunity as president of the United States early in his term to declare that America is back and the transatlantic alliance is back, and he will look forward to driving home the core proposition that the transatlantic alliance is a cornerstone for American engagement in the world in the 21st century, just as it was in the 20th,” an official told reporters. 

Also Friday, the U.S. will officially rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. The U.S. previously halted plans to withdraw from the WHO and an official said Biden will likely discuss returning the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated in 2015. All the actions would mark reversals from the Trump administration.

“We are keen to sit down and hear what the Iranians have to say we want to come up with a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear program,” an official said. “I think we have a path forward to return to nuclear diplomacy in a way that could ultimately put us on a positive path.”

Along with the initial $2 billion to the WHO’s COVAX program, Biden is also expected to indicate the U.S. plans to later provide an additional $2 billion when other countries give donations. 

“At the G7, the President is eager to reinforce his commitment to returning the United States to multilateral engagement,” the official said, “and in particular to engaging with the major democracies and market economies of the world on a common agenda.”

Regarding China, an official said the president isn’t looking for a confrontation.

“He’s not looking for a new Cold War, but he’s expecting stiff competition and he welcomes it.”

The official said Biden believes the U.S. and other democracies “should all work together to push back against the Chinese government practices and policies that are economically abusive that run counter to our shared values.”

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