US President Joe Biden on Tuesday highlighted groundbreaking achievements -- including an economic corridor linking India, the Middle East and Europe; and admission of the African Union in the G20 grouping -- made at the G20 Summit in New Delhi, as he addressed world leaders at the high-level UN General Assembly session.
The annual G20 Leaders' Summit was hosted by India under its presidency from September 9-10.
In groundbreaking effort, we announced at the G20 to connect India to Europe through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, Biden said in his address to Heads of State and Government at the 193-member UN General Assembly on the opening day of the General Debate.
He said this would spur opportunities for investment across two continents.
This is part of our effort to build a more sustainable, integrated Middle East. It demonstrates how Israel has a greater normalisation and economic connection with its neighbours which will bring positive and practical impacts.
The ambitious India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) was jointly announced by the leaders of the US, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
The new economic corridor is seen as an alternative to China's controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The IMEC is expected to stimulate economic development through enhanced connectivity and economic integration between Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe.
The IMEC will comprise two separate corridors, the east corridor connecting India to the Arabian Gulf and the northern corridor connecting the Arabian Gulf to Europe.
It will include a railway that, upon completion, will provide a reliable and cost-effective cross-border ship-to-rail transit network to supplement existing maritime and road transport routes enabling goods and services to transit to, from, and between India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, and Europe, the Memorandum of Understanding on the Principles of an India Middle East Europe Economic Corridor said.
In his address from the iconic UN General Assembly podium, Biden also referred to the admission of the African Union to the G20 during the summit.
We strengthened the G20 as a vital forum, welcoming the African Union as a permanent member. By upgrading and strengthening our institutions, that's only half of the picture. We must also forge new partnerships, confront new challenges, he said.
Referring to the Quad, Biden said in the Indo-Pacific, We've elevated our Quad partnership with India, Japan, Australia to deliver concrete progress for the people of the region, on everything from vaccines to maritime security. The Quad comprises Japan, India, Australia and the United States.
Biden travelled to New Delhi to attend the G20 Leaders' Summit that culminated in the successful adoption by consensus of a joint declaration.
In a significant milestone under India's G20 presidency, the African Union became a new permanent member of the grouping of the largest economies of the world during the summit in Delhi. It was the first expansion of the influential bloc since its inception in 1999.
All member countries of the G20 accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposal to bring the key bloc of the Global South to the high table of the world's top economies.
In his inaugural remarks at the Summit, Modi had asked the President of the Union of Comoros and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Azali Assoumani to join other leaders at the high table, making the 55-member bloc the second multi-nation grouping, after the EU, to be a permanent member of the G20.
Biden also reiterated Washington's support for reform of the UN Security Council, with expansion in both permanent and non-permanent members.
Simply put, the 21st century results are badly needed to move us along. That starts with the United Nations, starts right here in this room. In my address to this body last year, I announced the United States will support expanding the Security Council, increasing the number of permanent and non-permanent members, he said.
Biden underlined that the US has undertaken serious consultation with many member states. We'll continue to do our part to push more reform efforts forward, he said.
He said Washington recognises that to meet the new challenges of our decades-old institutions and approaches, they must be updated to keep peace with the world.
We have to bring in more leadership and capability that exists everywhere, especially from regions that have not always been fully included. We have to grapple with the challenges that are more connected and more complex. We have to make sure we're delivering for people everywhere, not just somewhere, everywhere, Biden said.
He emphasises that nations have to look for points of common ground and make progress in the year ahead.
We need to be able to break the gridlock that too often stymies progress and blocks consensus on the Council. We need more voices, more perspectives at the table. The UN must continue to preserve peace, prevent conflict and alleviate human suffering. And we embrace nations stepping up to lead new ways and to seek new breakthroughs on hard issues, Biden said.
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