United States President Joe Biden has invited around 110 countries to participate in a virtual summit on democracy scheduled for December. Among the countries invited are not only major Western allies but also Iraq, Pakistan, and India as per the list posted on the State Department website on Tuesday.

China, the United States’ rival, is not invited, but Taiwan is. A move that could anger Beijing. Turkey, which is a member of Nato, is also not included in the list of participants.

Among the countries of the Middle East, only Israel and Iraq are to participate in the online conference. Traditional Arab allies of the US such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are also not invited.

Biden also invited Brazil although its far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro has received criticism for having an authoritarian bent and was also a firm supporter of Donald Trump.

From Europe, Poland was invited to the summit despite escalating tension with the European Union over its human rights record. Hungary, led by nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, was not amongst those invited.

From Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, South Africa, and Niger are among the countries invited.

The conference is part of a campaign pledge by Biden, who has placed the struggle between democracies and “autocratic governments” at the heart of his foreign policy.

The “Summit for Democracy” is scheduled to take place online on December 9 and 10 ahead of an in-person meeting at its second edition in the following year.

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

Laleh Ispahani of the Open Society Foundations said, “For this kick-off summit […] there’s a case for getting a broad set of actors into the room: it provides for a better exchange of ideas than setting a perfect bar for qualification”.

Ispahani urged the US president to tackle the issue of “the serious decline of democracy around the world — including relatively robust models like the US” instead of using the summit as an anti-China meeting.

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

The story was filed by the News Desk. The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.


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