Biden invites around 110 countries to virtual summit on democracy

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the economy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., USA, 23 November 2021. [Pool/EPA/EFE]

President Joe Biden has invited around 110 countries to a virtual summit on democracy in December, including most of Western allies but not Hungary and Turkey, according to a list posted on the State Department website on Tuesday (23 November).

China, the United States’ principal rival, is not invited, while Taiwan is — a move that risks angering Beijing. Turkey, which like the US is a member of NATO, is also missing from the list of participants.

Among the countries of the Middle East, only Israel and Iraq will take place in the online conference, scheduled for 9-10 December.

Iraq, India and Pakistan are invited, while traditional Arab allies of the US — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, are not.

Biden invited Brazil even though its far right president, Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized as having an authoritarian bent and was a firm supporter of Donald Trump.

Orbán’s Hungary out

In Europe, Poland was invited to the summit despite persistent tension with the European Union over its human rights record. Hungary, led by hardline nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, was not invited.

In Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Nigeria and Niger are among the countries on the list.

Despite initial information that Serbia would not be invited, the name of the country appears on the list.

Vucic shrugs off Serbia’s absence from US democracy summit

Following reports that Serbia was not invited to the Summit for Democracy, a virtual conference that US President Joe Biden will host, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said on Sunday that “everyone has a right to evaluate other democracies as they see …

In announcing the summit back in August, the White House said the meeting would “galvanize commitments and initiatives across three principal themes: defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights.”

(Edited by Georgi Gotev)

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