Press Trust of india

Biden a ‘straight shooter’ when it comes to humanitarian rights and importance of democracy, says White House

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Washington: President Joe Biden is a “straight shooter” and has no problem having direct conversation with world leaders when it comes to humanitarian rights and the importance of democracy, his spokesperson has said.

The statement made by the White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a media briefing on Wednesday was in response to a question on whether Biden will raise the issue of minority rights with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the backdrop of the protests that turned into riots in several Indian states following the controversial remarks made against Prophet Mohammad by two now-suspended BJP functionaries.

Jean-Pierre was asked does the White House have any comment “on the Indian authorities demolishing the homes of people” linked to the violence and is there any chance that Biden will press Modi “to protect Muslim minorities in India” during the US president’s trip to Israel next month where he is potentially scheduled to meet virtually with the Indian prime minister along with the prime minister of Israel and the president of the UAE.

Jean-Pierre evaded a direct reply to the question, saying he can’t tell specifically what’s going to be on the agenda and what their conversation is going to be.

However, she said that Biden is “a straight shooter. He has no problem talking to leaders about humanitarian rights, about freedoms, about the importance of democracy. This is something that the president has done in the past”.

Biden, Jean-Pierre said, “speaks very frankly. And when it comes to humanitarian rights, has no problem having those direct conversations — leader-leader conversations”.

As the protests over the controversial remarks against the Prophet turned into violence, the authorities in some states demolished the houses of the rioters, claiming that they were constructed illegally.

The BJP on June 5 suspended its national spokesperson Nupur Sharma and expelled its Delhi media head Naveen Kumar Jindal after their controversial remarks against the Prophet.

India has said that the remarks do not reflect the views of the government.

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India accords the “highest respect” to all religions.

The new I2U2 grouping of India, Israel, the UAE and the US will hold its first virtual summit next month during Biden’s trip to the Middle East region from July 13 to 16.

Prime Minister Modi, President Biden, Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennett and UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan were scheduled to attend the first-of-its-kind virtual summit of the I2U2 grouping for discussions of the food security crisis and other areas of cooperation.

However, there is an uncertainty over Israel’s representation in the summit as Bennet has lost majority in Parliament and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is yet to take over as the interim prime minister pending elections to the Knesset.


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