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The list of invitations casts a shadow over the probability of success of the Biden Summit for Democracy 07-11-2021 | 14:57 Source : Reuters US President Joe Biden is preparing to fulfill one of his key campaign promises by holding a democracy summit in a first-of-its-kind event involving more than 100 countries to help stem the decline in democracy and the erosion of rights and freedoms around the world. But rights advocates are skeptical about whether this online event can push invited world leaders, some of whom are accused of authoritarianism, to a meaningful way to achieve this goal. “If this summit is to become more than just another meeting, every participant, including the United States, will have to make meaningful commitments on democracy and rights issues for the year,” said Annie Boyajian, vice president for policy and advocacy at the nonprofit organization Freedom House specializing in human rights and democracy. coming.” Administration officials say the December event is nothing more than a "launch" of a longer debate on democracy and that states will have to deliver on promised reforms to be invited to next year's follow-up summit. The summit, which will be held on December 9 and 10, is a test of what Biden has said for a long time, and stated in his foreign policy speech in February, that the United States will return to global leadership in his era to confront the forces of totalitarian rule, led by China and Russia. An initial list of the invitees, which was first published by Politico, and confirmed by an informed source, shows that the summit will be attended by mature democratic regimes such as France and Sweden and countries such as the Philippines and Poland, in which activists say democracy is in danger. In Asia, some US allies such as Japan and South Korea will be invited, while others such as Thailand and Vietnam are not. The representation of Middle Eastern countries is also limited as Israel and Iraq are among the few invited, while prominent US allies such as Egypt and NATO member Turkey are not included in the list. Rights groups applaud Biden's pledge to reinstate the standard of spreading freedoms and rights as a foreign policy priority, in contrast to the perseverance of his predecessor, Donald Trump, who praised leaders such as Russia's Vladimir Putin. "It is clear that strategic considerations in countering China have a role to play in inviting restive and declining democracies such as India and the Philippines, which are next door to China," said Amy Hawthorne, director of Middle East research for the Democracy Project, a pro-democracy group. She added: "The same may be true of the invitation of Iraq, where democracy is deeply flawed and where the neighborhood with the Iranian clerical regime, the opponent of the United States."