Biden promises ‘relentless diplomacy’ to skeptical allies

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – President Joe Biden has used his first address before the U.N. General Assembly to summon allies to quickly address the festering issues of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and human rights abuses. He’s also insisting the U.S. is not seeking “a new Cold War” with China.

The president says the end of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan last month set the table for his administration to shift attention to intensive diplomacy at a moment with no shortage of crises facing the globe.

He pledged on Tuesday to double U.S. financial aid to poorer countries to help them switch to cleaner energy and cope with the “merciless” effects of climate change.

Meanwhile, NATO’s leader is suggesting that members need to focus on “the big picture” and not allow a dispute that has enraged France to open an ongoing rift. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview Tuesday that he understands France’s disappointment over a U.S. and British deal to supply nuclear-powered subs to Australia.

It had been set to buy diesel-powered subs from a French company instead. But Stoltenberg says NATO allies agree they have to stand together to address common challenges. He says he’s confident that France, the U.K. and the U.S. will figure out how to avoid turning the disagreement into a bigger problem for the alliance.