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President Biden will be the first U.S. president to meet together with leaders from five Central Asian nations sometimes called the “Stans” – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — when he gathers with them next week on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.
The meeting with the former Soviet states on Tuesday is likely to be closely watched by Russia and China. Biden plans to discuss regional security issues with the leaders, as well as trade, climate and governance issues, said Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser.
It’s part of a busy agenda at the UN, where Biden will emphasize U.S. leadership around the world in his annual address. “We’ve put a lot of points on the board,” Sullivan said.
On Wednesday, Biden plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York. While the two leaders have met many times during the course of their long political careers, this is the first time they will have met since Netanyahu won his election last fall.
There have been months of tensions between the U.S. and Israel over Netanyahu’s far-right proposals to overhaul the country’s judicial system.
Biden plans another meeting with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Sullivan said they will be joined by labor leaders.
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Zelenskyy will be in Washington on Thursday
Then on Thursday, Biden will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the White House – a meeting that comes as the White House asks Congress for $24 billion more in funding to help Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion.
Congress approved more than $112 billion in aid for Ukraine in four spending bills last year. Some Republicans in the House of Representatives have pushed back against adding to that, and the new request is wrapped up in a broader fight over government spending that threatens to shut down the government at the end of the month.
Sullivan said Zelenskyy will meet with congressional leaders from both parties during his visit to make the case for more funding.
“We believe that whatever other to-ing and fro-ing there is in the legislative context, that at the end of the day the United States will be able to continue to deliver for Ukraine,” Sullivan said.