Biden, who fights at home, supports the G20’s trip abroad

ROME – President Biden wrapped up a long weekend of diplomacy on Sunday with a whirlwind proclamation of America’s renewed power on the world stage, crediting breakthroughs in climate change, tax evasion and Iran’s nuclear ambitions at the end of Group 20, which lacked some of his the world’s greatest adversaries.

Supported by a three-day return to the interpersonal negotiations that have defined his political career and are still emotionally overwhelmed by the extended Friday an audience with Pope Francis, Mr Biden shook off questions about his declining numbers in polls at home and announced new optimism for his fluctuating domestic policy.

He acknowledged with a smile the contradictions and obstacles to his long-term ambitions on issues such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And he claimed significant progress since the summit, which brought one major victory for his administration – the endorsement of a global pact to set minimum corporate tax rates – along with an agreement between the United States and Europe that will raise tariffs, including those on the European Union. steel and aluminum.

In other areas, such as climate change and the renewal of the nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, the summit brought some concrete measures.

But the president has repeatedly told reporters that he showed the strength of U.S. engagement on the world stage over the weekend and that he was restoring relations that had collapsed under his predecessor, Donald J. Trump.

“They listened,” Mr. Biden said. “Everyone was looking for me. They wanted to know what our views were. We helped run what happened here. The United States is the most critical part of this whole agenda, and we have done that. “

During his Roman vacation, Mr. Biden tried to mend relations with the French broken submarine business, be satisfied in blessing tax transaction that his administration has moved the line after years of talks and encouraged more ambitious climate commitments global conference in Glasgow, Scotland, that he traveled on.

The president has left behind chaos and disappointment in Washington, where recent polls show voters disagree with his performance in office and Democrats remain divided over a pair of bills that would total $ 3 trillion to advance his extensive domestic agenda. . Conducted surveys NBC News shows that seven out of ten Americans and nearly half of Democrats believe America is going in the wrong direction.

But after days of letting go of diplomacy, when bilateral cooperation at home was lacking, Mr Biden appeared at his news conference on Sunday and expressed hope that both laws would be passed in Parliament next week, reducing the election results.

“The polls will go up and down and up and down,” Mr Biden said. “Look at every other president. The same thing happened. But I didn’t run because of it. “

One of the reasons why, after more than four decades as a senator and vice-president, Mr Biden has run for the presidency has been meetings such as Group 20, where he can pursue a policy of pressure on meat that he has long enjoyed.

World leaders were slowly meeting in person as the pandemic spread for the second year in a row, but Mr Biden attended a Group 7 meeting in England in June, which was a kind of diplomatic icebreaker for rich countries. The Rome summit brought together a larger group of leaders, although some of Mr Biden’s biggest rivals on the world stage, such as China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, remained at home.

Biden and other world leaders said a return to personal conversations has changed the dynamic.

Mario Draghi, the Italian prime minister whose country hosted the summit, told a news conference that participants were more prepared than in the past to address climate change, inequality and other issues that would require collective action.

“Something has changed,” Mr. Draghi said.

Mr. Biden had hour-long meetings with leaders of various influences.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was given 80 minutes. On Sunday, Mr Biden also met with the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkey on the sidelines, emerging with a shared promise to continue to deal with a series of disagreements, mainly due to Turkey’s influence in several critical regions, including Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and the eastern Mediterranean.

Mr Biden said there were no substitutes for “look someone straight in the eye when you’re trying to do something.”

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

The agreement reached by leaders on Sunday committed to ending funding for coal-fired power plants in countries outside their own countries and to “continue efforts” to maintain average global temperatures at 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

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

The lack of further progress has angered activists and predicted the problems Mr Biden could face when attending the Glasgow Climate Convention, which will start on Monday.

Mr Biden acknowledged the irony in another effort he made at the summit – to have oil and gas producing countries increase production to lower driving and heating costs – at a time when he also called on the world to turn away from fossils. fuel. He said, however, that the transition from oil and gas to lower-emission alternatives would not take place immediately and that in the meantime he was trying to isolate consumers from price shocks.

Environmental activists were quick to criticize the summit’s climate commitments. Jennifer Morgan, CEO 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 he was “quiet, unambitious and without concrete plans”.

Mr Biden offered only gradual progress on the issue of unraveling global supply chains, which was the subject of a 14-country side meeting hosted on Sunday afternoon. Mr Biden announced that he was signing an executive order on defense stocks that would “allow us to respond faster and respond to deficiencies” in the supply chain.

He too revealed the deal to eliminate tariffs on European steel and aluminum, an agreement between the United States and the European Union that he said would benefit American consumers and “prove to the world that democracies tackle difficult problems and provide good solutions.”

There was no solution to the long-running dispute over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian S-400 air defense system. Mr Erdogan nevertheless refused to withdraw from the purchase sanctions and exclusion from the U.S. defense program to develop the F-35 stealth fighter aircraft. And Mr Biden did not agree to allow Mr Erdogan to buy F-16 fighter jets to modernize his fleet with the money he had already spent on the F-35.

But when his press conference ended, it was the engagement on which Mr. Biden lasted the longest, the one that began his journey: a meeting with Pope Francis.

When asked by a journalist about criticism of some conservative American Catholics that public officials like Mr. Biden, who are Catholics but support legal access to abortion, should be denied communion, Mr. Biden said the issue and his meeting with the pope were “personal.”

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

On Sunday, Mr. Biden began to think long and hard about his relationship with Francis and his admiration for him. He recounted how the pope advised his family after the death of Mr. Biden’s eldest son, Beau, a tragedy he equated with the loss of “the true part of my soul.”

Biden choked at times, saying the pope had become “someone who provided great consolation to my family when my son died.”

Biden added that the two men keep in touch.

He left the stage with no more questions.

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

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