Biden Opts Out of the COP28 Summit in Dubai Due to Prior Commitments
US President Joe Biden has chosen not to attend the COP28 gathering of world leaders scheduled in Dubai this week, according to a confirmation from a US official on Sunday. This decision, as reported earlier by The New York Times, is influenced by Biden’s pressing engagements related to ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and the anticipated escalation of his presidential campaign in January.
While Reuters had previously indicated uncertainty surrounding Biden’s participation in the United Nations’ COP28, the White House released the President’s schedule for Thursday, revealing commitments such as a bilateral meeting with the President of Angola and attendance at the National Tree Lighting event, contributing to his decision not to attend the climate-focused summit in Dubai.
Despite Biden’s absence, the Dubai meeting is expected to witness numerous countries advocating for an unprecedented global agreement aimed at phasing out carbon dioxide-emitting coal, oil, and gas. President Biden has participated in both COP summits since taking office in 2021. However, his decision not to attend this year’s talks, hosted by the United Arab Emirates, underscores the challenges of balancing international commitments amidst domestic and global concerns.
The Dubai event anticipates participation from world leaders, senior ministers, and officials representing 198 nations, along with an estimated 70,000 delegates. It marks the largest annual COP held within the framework of the 1992 UN convention on climate change. While UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to attend, opening speeches will be delivered by King Charles, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and His Holiness, the Pope. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is confirmed to attend, and an invitation has been extended to Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria. However, China’s President Xi Jinping is not expected to be present at the talks.