WASHINGTON DC — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan participated in the opening of the virtual “Summit For Democracy” initiated and hosted by US President Joe Biden. The two-day event is attended by leaders and representatives of more than a hundred countries.
The summit focuses on challenges and opportunities facing democracies and will provide a platform for leaders to announce both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad.
In his opening speech president Biden said saving democracy is ‘the challenge of our time. Democracy does not happen by accident, it needs to be renewed with every generation.”
“We know democracy requires constant struggle, Biden said, adding, “More than half of all democracies have witnessed a decline in at least one aspect of democracy including the United States.”
The US president informed that there has been a “10 per cent decline” in democracy including in the United States. Biden said democracy is facing “sustained and alarming challenges” worldwide.
Biden called on countries to focus on a “shared future” saying that “democracies are not all the same”. Biden said “trends are largely pointing in the wrong direction” . “We stand at an inflection point,” Biden said. “Will we allow the backward slide of rights and democracy to continue unchecked?”
“We do not agree on the same thing,” he said while highlighting the functioning behind various democratic governments worldwide.
Biden said democracies should stand for freedom of religion and freedom of the press as he mentioned Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela in his speech.
Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was dubbed an “autocrat” by President Biden, did not make the list. Azerbaijan, Russia and China are not on the list, either.
In the Middle East, only Israel and Iraq were invited. The traditional Arab allies of the US — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — are all absent.
Biden also invited Brazil, which is led by controversial far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
In Europe, Poland is represented, despite recurring tensions with Brussels over respect for the rule of law, but Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban is not.
Prime Minister Pashinyan’s speech at the Summit is scheduled for December 10.