Biden to host food security summit at U.N. later in September

·2 min read
White House ceremony to unveil portraits of former U.S. President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, in Washington

By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden will co-host a food security summit later in September while in New York for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield will announce later on Thursday.

The United States has strengthened its focus on food security since Russia's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine worsened a global food crisis that was already fueled by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biden's summit follows a food security event held by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the United Nations in May.

Thomas-Greenfield is due to speak in San Francisco later on Thursday on the future of the United Nations. The founding United Nations Charter was agreed in San Francisco in 1945.

According to her prepared remarks, seen by Reuters, Thomas-Greenfield will accuse Russia - a permanent, veto-wielding member of the 15-member U.N. Security Council - of "domination in its purest form."

"Some say this is a new cold war. That they don't want to take sides. That this is between Ukraine and Russia, or the United States and Russia," she will say, according to the draft of her remarks.

"That is not right. This is not a new cold war. This is not about just a few countries. It involves all of us. This is about defending the U.N. Charter."

Thomas-Greenfield will announce six U.S. commitments, including a pledge to push to expand the U.N. Security Council to "better reflect the current global realities and incorporate more geographically diverse perspectives."

"We should not defend an unsustainable and outdated status quo," according to Thomas-Greenfield's prepared remarks on the future of the world body.

"Instead, we must demonstrate flexibility and willingness to compromise in the name of greater credibility and legitimacy. We should forge consensus around sensible and credible proposals to expand the Security Council's membership," she is due to say.

Reform of the Security Council has long been discussed, but needs the agreement of the permanent five veto-wielding council members: the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia. The Security Council has been expanded once - from 11 to 15 members in 1965.

The other U.S. commitments are: to defend and act strictly in accordance with the U.N. Charter; engage pragmatically with all members despite disagreements on other issues; refrain from the use of the veto except in rare, extraordinary situations; demonstrate leadership in defending human rights; and enhance cooperation, inclusivity and transparency.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Editing by Matthew Lewis)