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US Vice President Kamala Harris: America’s global leadership role can be trusted

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference on Friday (February 16). She reiterated to U.S. allies that the United States remains a trustworthy force

“It is in the fundamental interest of the American people that the United States fulfill its role as our long-term global leader,” Harris said.

Harris began her brief remarks by announcing the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, calling it “yet another example of Putin’s brutality.”

Harris’s visit to the annual security conference comes as former President Trump, who is running in the U.S. presidential election, has caused huge controversy with his remarks that he would encourage Russia to attack NATO members who have fallen behind on military payments. Trump’s comments have raised some levels of doubt about America’s leadership in the world.

At the same time, the United States continues to firmly support Israel in its fight against Hamas extremist forces, while some Republican members of the U.S. Congress have put aside funds to assist Ukraine in resisting Russian aggression.

Harris plans to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz separately on Saturday.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pointed out in his speech at the conference on Friday that the current international order is not working, and millions of ordinary people are paying a “painful price” for it.

“Today we see some countries doing whatever they want without taking any responsibility,” Guterres told the meeting.

He noted that if every country fulfilled its obligations under the United Nations Charter, “peace and dignity would be enjoyed by every person on earth.”

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“The problem is that many governments are ignoring these obligations,” he added.

When talking about the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Guterres said that there is no reason to whitewash Hamas’s terrorist attack on October 7, but there is also no reason to whitewash Israel’s military retaliation and “collective punishment” of the Palestinian people.

“The situation in Gaza is a shocking indictment of the deadlock in global relations,” Guterres said. “The level of death and destruction is appalling. This war is spreading across the region and affecting global trade.”

Gaza’s health department, controlled by Hamas, said that since Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel last year, nearly 29,000 Palestinians have died in the fighting since the military attack on Gaza.

Guterres reiterated the international community’s concern over Israel’s plans to conduct a ground attack on the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The city of Rafah is the center of humanitarian relief operations, where a large number of Palestinians fleeing the war gather.

“A full-scale attack on this city would be devastating for the 1.5 million Palestinian civilians at risk,” Guterres warned.

February 24th will be the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russo-Ukrainian war has forced 6 million Ukrainians to flee to other countries, while 14.6 million people staying in the country are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

“The cost in lives and suffering of Ukrainians over the past two years has been staggering, and the global economy, especially those in developing countries, has been particularly severely affected,” Guterres said.

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The war has caused food and fuel prices to skyrocket, worsening the situation for some poor countries that have yet to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We urgently need to seek a just and sustainable peace for Ukraine, for Russia, and for the world,” Guterres said. “A peace that is consistent with the United Nations Charter and international law, thereby establishing the obligation to respect the territorial integrity of sovereign states.”

In his speech, Guterres also talked about the need to address the climate change crisis and reform global financial institutions. He said he would host a “future summit” to discuss these issues on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in September this year.

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