United States President Joe Biden has invited nearly 110 countries, including major Western allies, but also Iraq, India and Pakistan, for a virtual summit on democracy in December. List Posted on the State Department website on Tuesday.
China, the United States’ major rival, is not invited, while Taiwan is – a move that risks angering Beijing.
Turkey, which is a member of NATO like the US, is also missing from the list of participants.
Only Israel and Iraq will be in the Middle East countries in the online conference.
America’s traditional Arab allies – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – are not invited.
Biden invited Brazil, even though its far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, was criticized for having an authoritarian leaning and a staunch supporter of Donald Trump.
In Europe, Poland was invited to the summit despite continuing tensions with the European Union over its human rights record. Hungary, led by the radical nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, was not invited.
In Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Nigeria and Niger are among the countries on the list.
The convention was a campaign pledge by the US President, who has placed the conflict between democracies and “autocratic governments” at the center of his foreign policy.
The “Summit for Democracy” will take place online on December 9 and 10 before an in-person meeting in its second edition next year.
Announcing the summit in August, the White House said the meeting would “inspire commitments and initiatives across three key themes: defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption and promoting respect for human rights”.
“For this kick-off summit […] It’s a matter of involving a wider group of actors in the room: it provides for a better exchange of ideas than sets up an ideal bar for merit,” explained Leleh Espahani of the Open Society Foundation. AFP,
Rather than using the summit as an anti-China meeting, Espahani urged Biden to address the “serious decline of democracy around the world – including a relatively strong model like the US”.