Struggling at Home, Biden Surprised by G20 Overseas Trip

ROME — President Biden ended a long weekend of diplomacy on Sunday with a pompous declaration of America’s renewed power on the world stage, demanding credit at the end of a group of initiatives for his breakthroughs in climate change, tax avoidance and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. 20 summits that are missing out on some of their biggest global competitors.

Strengthened by a three-day return to interpersonal negotiations that defined his political career and still emotionally overcame a long Friday Audience with Pope FrancisBiden answered questions about weak poll numbers within the country and predicted new optimism for his swaying domestic policy agenda.

He acknowledged with a smile the contradictions and obstacles to his long-term ambitions, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. European steel and aluminum between the US and Europe, as well as the ratification of a global agreement to set minimum corporate tax rates.

In other areas, such as climate change and the re-establishment of the nuclear arms deal with Iran, the summit produced few concrete actions.

But the president has repeatedly told reporters that the weekend demonstrated the strength of American involvement on the world stage, renewing relations that had frayed under his predecessor, Donald J. Trump.

“They listened,” said Mr. Biden. “Everybody called me. They wanted to know what our views were. We helped manage what happened here. The United States is the most critical piece of this entire agenda, and we’ve done that.”

Mr. Biden tried to mend relations with the French during the Roman holiday. a sour submarine deal, to enjoy the blessing tax treaty He said his administration had crossed the line after years of negotiations and mobilized more ambitious climate commitments. a global conference in Glasgow, Scotland, He said he was traveling to the next one.

The President has left Washington’s chaos and frustrations behind; Recent polls show voters’ discontent with his performance in the office is growing and Democrats remain divided over a pair of bills that will spend a combined $3 trillion to advance their far-reaching domestic agenda. . survey conducted by NBC News It shows that seven in 10 Americans and nearly half of Democrats believe America is headed in the wrong direction.

But at a time when bipartisan co-operation was inadequate at home, after days behind diplomacy, Mr. Biden said at a press conference on Sunday that he hoped both bills would pass the House next week, downplaying the polls.

“Polls will go up and down and up and down,” Mr Biden said. “Look at the other president. Same thing happened. But that’s why I didn’t run away.”

One reason Mr. Biden sought the presidency after serving as senator and vice president for more than forty years was for meetings like the Group of 20s, where he was able to apply repressive politics to the flesh he had long enjoyed.

World leaders have been slow to reunite in person as the pandemic enters its second year, but Mr Biden attended a Group of 7 meeting in the UK in June that was a sort of diplomatic icebreaker for rich countries. Although some of Biden’s biggest rivals on the world stage, such as Xi Jinping of China and Vladimir Putin of Russia, remained at home, the summit in Rome brought together a larger group of leaders.

Mr Biden and other world leaders said the return to face-to-face talks has changed the dynamic.

Mario Draghi, Italy’s prime minister, whose country is hosting the summit, said at a news conference that attendees are more eager than in the past to address climate change, inequality and other issues that require collective action to correct.

“Something has changed,” said Mr. Draghi.

Mr. Biden held hours of meetings with leaders from different spheres of influence at the summit.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took 80 minutes. On Sunday, Mr. Biden also met with the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Given Turkey’s influence in various critical regions, including Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and the eastern Mediterranean, Turkey’s stay on the sidelines, driven by the shared promise to continue working on a number of disputes.

Mr. Biden said there was no other replacement for him. “to look someone in the eye while trying to do something.”

But in many areas, the summit produced more rhetoric than action.

An agreement reached by leaders on Sunday promised to end financing of coal plants in countries other than their own and “continue efforts” to keep the average global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

“We remain committed to the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global average temperature rise well below 2°C and continuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” the leaders said in a statement.

The lack of further progress has angered activists and heralded the challenges Mr Biden may face as he attends a high-risk climate convention in Glasgow on Monday.

Mr. Biden acknowledged the irony in another edition he made at the summit – for oil and gas producing countries to increase production to drive down driving and heating costs – while also urging the world to move away from fossils. fuels. But he said the transition from oil and gas to low-emission alternatives would not be immediate, and meanwhile he wanted to insulate consumers from price shocks.

The summit’s climate commitments drew swift criticism from environmental activists. Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, described the agreement between the leaders as “weak” and said it “lacks ambition and vision”. Jörn Kalinski, a senior adviser at Oxfam, said it was “quiet, unpretentious and devoid of concrete plans”.

Mr. Biden offered only gradual progress on unraveling global supply chains, which was the subject of the 14-nation side meeting he hosted Sunday afternoon. Mr Biden announced that he has signed an executive order on defense stock in supply chains that will “enable us to react and respond more quickly to deficiencies”.

Room announced a deal Europe to withdraw tariffs on steel and aluminum, an agreement between the United States and the European Union that it says will benefit American consumers and “prove to the world that democracies take on difficult problems and offer sound solutions.”

A longstanding dispute over Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system has not been resolved. Despite his decision to buy, Erdogan refused to take a step back. sanctions and being kicked out of a US defense program to develop the F-35 stealth fighter. And Mr. Biden did not allow Mr. Erdogan to buy F-16 fighter jets to upgrade his fleet with the money he had spent on F-35s.

But as the press conference ended, the engagement with which Mr. Biden lingered the longest was the engagement that started his journey: his meeting with Pope Francis.

Asked by a reporter criticism from some conservative American Catholics Biden, who said public officials such as Mr. Biden, who is Catholic but supports legal access to abortion, should be deprived of communion, said the issue and his meeting with the pope were “personal”.

Mr Biden said on Friday that he called him a “good Catholic” and that he should continue to receive communion.

On Sunday, Mr. Biden began to reflect on his relationship with and admiration for Francis. He described how Mr. Biden had advised the pope’s family after the death of his eldest son, Beau.

Mr Biden, choking at times, said the pope had become “a person who provided great comfort to my family when my son died”.

Two men, Mr. Biden added, stay in touch.

He left the stage without asking any more questions.

Carlotta Gall, Jason Horowitz and Somini Sengupta contributed to the reporting.

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